The Miami Dolphins will host free-agent linebacker Reuben Foster on a free agent visit, working out the former first-round draft pick on Friday. Adding Foster could give the Dolphins a solid depth player on the roster, though the linebacker has struggled to remain healthy through much of his career. The free-agent visit was first reported by the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
Foster, 27, was a first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the 2017 NFL Draft coming out of the University of Alabama. He moved into the 49ers’ starting lineup during training camp, starting 10 games as a rookie but dealt with ankle and rib issues during the season, limiting him to just the 10 games played. He was suspended for two games at the start of the 2018 season for violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, coming back to start six games before the 49ers waived him following a domestic violence arrest. The Washington Commanders franchise claimed him, with the NFL continuing their investigation into his arrest.
He was not suspended for the arrest and the charges were eventually dropped, with both the Florida State Attorney’s Office and the NFL concluding there was not enough evidence for any action. Foster returned to practice with Washington in May 2019, but sustained a torn ACL that cost him both the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Foster has had multiple workouts with teams since recovering from his knee injury, but he has yet to be signed by anyone.
In his two seasons of action, Foster has appeared in 16 games, starting all of them, with 101 tackles and two passes defended. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel was the run game coordinator for the 49ers during Foster’s time in San Francisco.
Foster has experience playing both outside and inside linebacker positions. If the Dolphins were to sign him, he could make sense as an inside linebacker, where the team could use depth. Miami’s presumed top of the depth chart have Jerome Baker and Elandon Roberts inside, with Duke Riley the primary depth option. Outside, Miami could start with Jaelan Phillips and Andrew Van Ginkel, with Sam Eguavoen rotating in as well. If Foster were able to prove himself and become a key contributor or starter, it could allow Miami some flexibility at the linebacker position, including allowing Baker to slide outside and use his skills to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
Miami could consider offering Foster a minimum contract with little guaranteed money, turning Friday’s workout into a summer-long look at the former first-round pick with no major commitment, leaving open the ability to release him if he does not reach the potential he showed back in 2017.