The Miami Dolphins kicked off their ramp-up toward the 2023 NFL season when they agreed to a trade to acquire All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. On Monday, as the 2023 NFL free agency legal tampering period began, the team continued to address their defense, turning toward the middle of the field targeting an inside linebacker. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Dolphins are signing David Long, Jr., to a two-year, $11 million contract.
Long began his career in the NFL as a sixth-round selection by the Tennessee Titans out of West Virginia in 2019. In four seasons, he has appeared in 50 games, starting 26 of them. He has recorded 230 career tackles, including a career-high 86 last year, along with 14 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and four interceptions. He landed on injured reserve late in the 2022 season with a hamstring injury.
The Dolphins will likely pair Long next to Jerome Baker as the team’s starting inside linebackers in their 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. They will have Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb alongside them as the team’s outside linebackers and primary edge rushers.
The NFL negotiating, or “legal tampering,” period is a two-and-a-half day period before the official start to the free agency signing period. The 2023 negotiating period began a 12 p.m. ET on Monday and runs through to the 4 p.m. ET Wednesday start of the signing period. Teams are allowed to negotiate contracts with soon-to-be free agents, but nothing can be finalized - including Miami’s trade for Ramsey and the signing of Long - before Wednesday afternoon.