Later today, the NFL’s “legal tampering” period will begin, with teams given three days of negotiation time before the actual start of free agency on Thursday. Teams can work out the framework of a new contract with an agent, but they cannot agree to final terms and sign contracts until 4pm Thursday afternoon. As we approach the start of free agency, we also approach the end of our “Re-sign, tag, walk” series of articles, reviewing the Miami Dolphins’ pending free agents.
This series breaks down each of those players, giving you the opportunity to decide whether the team should bring back the player, tag him in order to make sure no one else signs him, or allow him to leave for a new club. Today also marks the return of the “re-sign” piece of the article, rather than the “tender” that was used for the restricted free agent players.
And, yes, I know the deadline to franchise tag a player passed while I was not around, but I am leaving it as an option to see what you would have done as the Dolphins’ GM.
Anyone who is not under contract for the 2017 season by 4pm ET Thursday will be able to begin signing with new teams - barring any restricted free agent tenders that have been placed on players with less than four years of service time in the league. The deadline to re-sign your own players is rapidly approaching if a team does not want them to hit the open market.
The Dolphins have 20 players about whom they need to make decisions. We have been asking you as fans of the team to provide your thoughts on what the Dolphins should do for each of their upcoming free agents. We break down the history of the player, what they did for the team in 2016, the terms of their expiring contract, the estimated value for the franchise tag, and then as you to vote on the decision the team should make.
Time to take a look at linebacker Spencer Paysinger.
Paysinger entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon in 2011, signing with the New York Giants. He played in 15 games as a rookie, primarily working on special teams. He started making more contributions as a linebacker in 2012, playing in 16 games with three starts, then backing that up with ten starts in 16 appearances in 2013. He returned to primarily a special teams and reserve linebacker in 2015, appearing in 15 games with one start. Over his four years with the Giants, he recorded 114 tackles with one sack, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries. He joined the Dolphins as a free agent in 2015, initially signing a one-year contract. He appeared in 14 games for Miami, working primarily on special teams, with 10 defensive tackles.
Paysinger re-signed with Miami for the 2016 season, and saw his defensive responsibilities increase as the linebackers were decimated by injury. He appeared in 15 games with three starts on the year, recording 53 tackles, three passes defensed, and two fumble recoveries.
Paysinger’s expiring contract is a one-year, $$840,000 contract (via overthecap.com).
The linebacker value for a franchise tag is around $14.5 million.
The Phinsider thoughts
Paysinger has proven to both be a solid special teams player and a solid depth option at the linebacker position, something the team desperately needed last year. A new contract should not be a huge financial requirement for the Dolphins, so offering him a deal to continue to serve in those roles, and potentially push for a starting role if Miami is unable to address the holes at linebacker right now, probably makes sense.
What should the Dolphins do with Paysinger? Vote below and feel free to discuss in the comments.