The Miami Dolphins need to find a pass rush this year. After Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn, and Andre Branch left South Florida this spring, the Dolphins are relying on a breakout from Charles Harris and scheme to disrupt opposing quarterbacks. Will that be enough?
Or, will the Dolphins need to shop for a pass rusher (or two) this summer? Will training camp prove the Dolphins are ready to take on Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Andre Luck, and the rest of the quarterbacks they will face in 2019?
There is one name that seems to make sense for Miami to consider if they do decide to look for some pass rush help: Nick Perry.
Perry, the Green Bay Packers linebacker who was injured in Week 10 last year in a victory over the Dolphins, has been a free agent since being released in March. He has experience as a rush linebacker playing on the outside of a 3-4 defensive front, and he could give Miami that extra option when it comes to the role. Charles Harris is expected to serve as Miami’s top pass rusher, working both as a 4-3 defensive end and as a 3-4 linebacker, but Perry could provide more versatility to the defense and give Miami depth at a lacking position.
The nine games played in 2018 followed a season in which Perry only played 12 games. He has just 8.5 sacks over those two years, but he tallied 11 sacks in 2016, playing in 14 games, At 29, Perry is still young enough to rebound from the injuries the last two seasons, and he has enough experience to provide some leadership to the position group.
NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt identified Perry as an option for Miami. Last week he posted an article “Finding homes for top remaining free agents,” which included the idea of Perry to the Dolphins. Brandt wrote, “The Dolphins showed interest in the former Packer earlier this offseason, but no contract has resulted yet. It might behoove Miami to make a renewed push for Perry, considering none of the Dolphins’ returning defenders registered more than three sacks in 2018. Perry couldn’t top that total last season either, recording 1.5 sacks before going on injured reserve in November with a knee injury. But he’s just one year removed from a seven-sack campaign (he totaled 18 in 2016-17) and two years removed from signing a five-year extension in Green Bay. Perhaps defensive-minded coach Brian Flores can help the 29-year-old Perry return to form.”
As Brandt pointed out, the Dolphins were interested in Perry back in May, but no deal was reached. Could Miami re-visit the idea this summer?
Could the team be waiting to see if Perry remains unsigned after Week 1, thus preventing his full 2019 salary from being fully guaranteed?
After Perry, the pass rushers are pretty scarce at this point. Muhammad Wilkerson is still available, though a DWI last month could scare away teams. Dion Jordan, the Dolphins’ former third-overall draft pick who showed some flashes with the Seattle Seahawks the last couple of seasons, but is now facing a ten-game suspension for a positive test for Adderall back in January. William Hayes is still an available free agent as well, but after an ACL tear early in the season last year for Miami, his rehab will be a question - and he is effective as a pass rusher, but is better as a run-stopping, edge setter.
Perry might the only choice for Miami should they need to go looking for pass rush help this summer.