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2017 Miami Dolphins free agency: Donald Butler - Re-sign, tag, walk

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Earlier this morning, our review of the Miami Dolphins’ 2017 free-agents-to-be through the “Re-sign, tag, walk” series of articles took a look at linebacker Spencer Paysinger. We continue now with the second of three free agents that will be profiled today - finishing off the list of Dolphins’ potential free agents.

This series breaks down each of the players scheduled to see their contracts end this week, giving you as a fan 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.

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 Donald Butler.

Player history

Butler began his career as a 2010 draft pick out of Washington, being selected in the third round by the (then) San Diego Chargers. He missed all of his rookie season with an Achilles tendon tear, then became a starter for the Chargers in his second season, though he did not play in all 16 games in a seasons until 2015. During his five years with San Diego, Butler recorded 385 tackles, seven sacks, three interceptions with one touchdown, 14 passes defensed, five forced fumbles, and six fumble recoveries with one touchdown.

2016 Season

Butler signed during the season with the Dolphins, adding depth to a linebacker corps that was starting to see injuries mount. He appeared in 14 games for the Dolphins, with five starts, recording 28 tackles.


Butler’s expiring contract is a one-year, $760,000 contract (via His salary cap number was prorated to $564,706.

Franchise tag

The linebacker value for a franchise tag is around $14.5 million.

The Phinsider thoughts

Butler was signed to provide depth, and eventually he ended up being needed as a starter. Miami could sign him back for a relatively low value, but they may choose to look in another direction for depth as they rework the linebacker corps.

Fan vote

What should the Dolphins do with Butler? Vote below and feel free to discuss in the comments.

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