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NFL free agency 2022: Dolphins sign Connor Williams

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The first upgrade to the Miami Dolphins offensive line during the NFL’s free agency period has happened. During the second day of the 2022 “legal tampering” period, the Dolphins have agreed to terms with former Dallas Cowboys guard Connor Williams, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, via agents Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha, the deal is a two-year contract worth $14 million, with $7.5 million guaranteed.

The offensive line is Miami’s top need this year, where several younger players last year did not play up to their potential. The team has been expected to look to the free-agent market for upgrades, plugging in some veterans to bolster the younger players, solidifying the line for this season while allowing developmental time for some of the other players.

Williams was a second-round pick by the Cowboys in 2018, appearing in 57 games with 51 starts over his four seasons in the league. He played collegiately at Texas.

Matt Holleran of Blogging the Boys, SB Nation’s Cowboys site, wrote of Williams ahead of free agency:

It was a rough year for 24-year-old offensive lineman Connor Williams. Coming off a season in which he performed pretty well, earning a career-high 70.8 offensive grade via Pro Football Focus, Williams was trending in the right direction heading into a contract year. Unfortunately for the former Longhorn, things didn’t continue to go his way.

The former second-round pick had a disaster of a season in 2021, which included being benched mid-season in favor of second-year guard Connor McGovern, and leading the NFL in penalties with 17 called and 14 enforced.

Holleran predicted Williams would sign a three-year contract with the Dolphins - almost nailing it exactly.

Can the Dolphins coach Williams’ 2021 mistakes out of him for 2022? At 24 years old, he has plenty of time to grow, has four years of NFL experience already, and still fits in with the youth of the line. The Dolphins probably are not done looking at offensive linemen to add, but Williams does give the team their first addition to the position and should be able to come in and either start at guard, or the team could look to move him back to tackle, where he played in college.