The Dolphins are using their deep resources to not just fortify their trenches, but completely rebuilding them.
First guard Ereck Flowers agreed to a free-agent deal.
Now it’s Shaq Lawson, and edge defender and former Bills first-round pick.
NFL Network first reported Lawson will sign a three-year, $30 million contract with Miami, reuniting with his former defensive coordinator Marion Hobby — not to mention ex-Clemson teammate Christian Wilkins.
Lawson immediately upgrades a position of weakness for the Dolphins, whose 23 sacks were fewest in football last year.
He has 108 tackles and 16 1/2 sacks in his four-year career, but showed great improvement in 2019 with 6 1/2 sacks. Despite his draft pedigree, Lawson platooned in Buffalo. Even while showing improvement last year, he was still on the field for just 47 percent of Buffalo’s defensive snaps. The Bills liked his growth, but he simply got too expensive to keep.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, have gobs of salary cap space and are following through on Chris Grier’s promise to spend, but spend judiciously. They promised to spend on middle-class free agents, and by signing Flowers and Lawson to deals that pay both $10 million annually, they’re following through on that pledge to spread the money around.
Lawson’s arrival can’t mean good news for Taco Charlton or Charles Harris, a couple of fellow former first-round picks who haven’t lived up to their potential.
Both are under contract in 2020, but Lawson’s arrival would suggest a diminished role for both — if they’re on the team at all.
▪ Special teams coordinator Danny Crossman has real currency inside Dolphins HQ. In addition to being Brian Flores’ right-hand man now that Karl Dorrell is gone, his unit is a priority in free agency.
The Dolphins have a three-year deal in place with Bengals safety Clayton Fejedelem, a reserve safety and excellent special teams contributor. That’s according to Fejedelem’s agent Mike McCartney, who announced the agreement on Twitter.
Fejedelem has never missed a game in four NFL seasons and while he’s played mostly on special teams (appearing in at least 80 percent of the Bengals kicking game snaps the last three years), he does have six starts on defense.
Fejedelem basically replaces Walt Aikens, who is a free agent.