With free agency opening in just under a month on March 14th, NFL teams have already begun evaluating the potential talent pool that is set to hit the open market. Despite the fact that negotiating can’t begin until the legal tampering period starts on March 12th, front office’s must have an idea of which potential free agents they will target in order to get ahead of the competition at the negotiating table. With that in mind, we here at The Phinsider will be reviewing possible free agent fits for the Dolphins this offseason. Today, we continue with Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson.
The list of potential free agents is subject to change as teams re-sign or cut players over the next few months.
Williamson was drafted out of Kentucky by the Tennessee Titans in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Over the course of his four seasons with the Titans, Williamson has played in 63 of 64 possible games, while starting 59. The 25-year old linebacker has recorded at least 90 tackles in each of the past three seasons and has 11.5 sacks over the course of his career.
What makes Williamson a valuable asset to any linebacker corps is his versatility. He’s a solid tackler and capable pass rusher, but he also vastly improved in pass coverage over the course of his tenure in Nashville. In Tennessee’s 3-4 defense, Williams lined up as an inside linebacker, but would likely be able to line up on the inside or outside in Miami’s 4-3 scheme.
With Miami likely to part ways with Lawrence Timmons before the 2018 season kicks off, and with Kiko Alonso’s regression over the past year, adding a young linebacker with loads of potential and a very short list of prior injuries makes a great deal of sense. It’s also not yet known if Raekwon McMillan will be everything the Dolphins were expecting when they drafted him in the second round of last year’s draft before he suffered a devastating knee injury in the preseason. With that in mind, it’s clear the team’s linebacker unit needs a boost.
The sticking point here, as always, is money. Miami’s front office is working with the fifth least cap space in the league (just over $8,000,000). While Mike Tannenbaum and co. can clear some more spending money through releasing some of the team’s pricey veterans and by restructuring some of the larger contracts, there still won’t be a great deal of extra cash lying around. Let’s not forget, some money needs to be set aside for resigning impending free agents, signing draft picks, and for a safety net during the season in case of injury. With all that taken into account, the front office will need to be more frugal than it’s been in recent years, and Williamson likely won’t come cheaply, especially if he’s seeking a multi-year contract.
Should the Dolphins pursue Avery Williamson in free agency?
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