The Dolphins have one of the most coveted players about to hit free agency on March 9th. Defensive end Olivier Vernon is a blossoming pass rushing talent that the Fins almost certainly want to keep. He is going to command top dollar. Vernon ended his contract season with 10 QB sacks, 30 QB hits and 41 QB hurries according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). That is a total of 81 total pressures, which was the second highest total for a defensive end in the NFL behind Michael Bennett.
Vernon lines up at as a 4 technique defensive lineman. On the snap he and the DT execute a beautiful game for the sack.
In order to keep him they may have to restructure their veteran pass rusher Cameron Wake. According to Ian Rappaport, that is what they are looking to do.
Interesting #Dolphins development: MIA in talks to extend Cam Wake before league year, bringing the franchise tag in play for Olivier Vernon
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 18, 2016
Wake ended his season on the IR only participating in 256 snaps. It was an ending to a promising season for Wake. At the time of his injury, he had 7 sacks, 2 QB hits and 10 QB hurries. His 7 sacks were the 3rd most sacks for a defensive end through 8 weeks. His season ended when he tore his Achilles tendon.
He can still rush the passer. Aligned in a wide technique, he blows by the RT.
The Fins are currently 6-7 million under the salary cap. The team may have trouble re-signing Vernon if they don’t move some money around. They are hand-cuffed because of Suh’s bloated contract figure in 2016. Suh is due to make around $26 million in 2016, while Wake is due to make $9.6 million. Wake’s $9.6 million dollar figure is what Spotrac is projecting Vernon to make yearly. So if they choose to do a long term deal with Vernon it’ll be in the ball park of 5 years $52 million. If that deal can’t be reached the Fins may look to franchise tag Vernon.
Vernon brings down Tom Brady in the final game of the year.
It is important for the Fins to extend Wake’s contract to lower his cap hit but more importantly to keep the talented defensive line unit in tact.
Look at how hard Wake works through the chip and through the tackle for the sack.
Having a defensive line that can rush the passer without blitzing is key when you play in a division with the New England Patriots. Here are the other possible Miami free agents that may hit the market soon:
Some important moves for Adam Gase and the Miami organization are on the horizon leading up to the start of free agency.