One element the Dolphins definitely missed on defense was an imposing linebacker in the middle, and free agent Lawrence Timmons might be the one to solve that problem.
At 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, Timmons would give Miami a significant presence in the run game and would mesh well with Kiko Alonso if he moves outside. The Dolphins played Alonso at outside linebacker occasionally late in the season, and Timmons has experience on the outside as well.
Timmons and the Steelers are still in the playoffs, but he will become an unrestricted free agent in March. While he’s older than the Dolphins would likely prefer (he’ll be 31 when next season begins), he’s been healthy throughout his 10-year career.
Timmons had 78 tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception in the regular season. He had eight tackles against the Dolphins in their first-round playoff game. Over the past four seasons, he averaged 83 tackles.
He made $15.1 million this year, including a base salary of $8.8 million, which made him the most expensive inside linebacker in the NFL.
Miami went cheap at linebacker this season, paying a total of $5.9 million to starters Koa Misi, Alonso and Jelani Jenkins. Jenkins is an unrestricted free agent, Alonso is restricted and Misi has one year left on his deal. Misi missed most of this season with a neck injury, raising questions about whether he’ll continue to be effective.
The Dolphins’ total linebacker expenditure of $8.3 million in salary cap was the lowest in the NFL this year. That amount accounted for 5.4 percent of the cap. Conversely, the Bears, Packers, Steelers and Broncos all committed at least 19.8 percent of their cap space to linebackers.
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