William Hayes may end up as one of the Miami Dolphins’ key under-the-radar acquisitions.
But if Hayes lives up to their expectations as a rotational defensive line-run stopper, they may also face losing him in free agency after the 2017 season.
In an revised contract first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, Hayes will take a small pay reduction in 2017 ($5.5 million down to $4.75 million) in exchange for the deletion of the 2018 portion of the remaining contract.
This allows Hayes, 31, to potentially become a valuable free agent after next season. The revised deal also slightly increases Hayes’ guaranteed compensation for 2017.
According to a league source, the player appreciates the opportunity to pursue free agency after next season, if for any reason, the fit does not work out as well as expected.
Hayes said after the trade that he nearly signed with the Dolphins as a free agent before last season, and that he would have been upset if he had been dealt anywhere else.
So there is every possibility Hayes agrees to a new deal after next season.
Miami needs Hayes’ run-stopping contributions.
According to Pro Football Focus, Hayes was the 11th-best edge defender against the run in 2016.
Miami’s other current defensive end Andre Branch (66th), Terrence Fede (67th) and Cam Wake (77th) were not ranked very highly against the run.
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