DAVIE — One of the few bright spots for the Dolphins this season is ending on a down note.
The Dolphins placed defensive end William Hayes on injured reserve Tuesday because of a back injury, ending his season and perhaps also his Dolphins career.
The move was expected. When coach Adam Gase was asked Monday if he expected Hayes to return this season, he said, “I’m thinking that would be probably tough for him to do.”
Hayes was signed as a free agent from the Rams this offseason to a one-year, $4.75 million contract.
Although he was signed primarily to solidify Miami’s run defense, Hayes quickly proved to be a valuable all-around addition whose impact extended beyond his statistics: 19 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and five quarterback hits.
But whether Hayes’ Dolphins career is over after just 10 games now is in question. He will become a free agent after the season and with the team falling to 4-7 and currently out of the playoff picture, changes are sure to follow.
Would a veteran who will be 33 next season still be in Miami’s plans? It could depend on Hayes’ price, although Gase has consistently expressed happiness with Hayes’ performance this season.
“He’s a guy that has played really well for us this year,” Gase told reporters a week ago. “He has kind of set the tone on the edge. You guys have been around him long enough. The time you guys have kind of either met with him or watched him play, you can tell he’s a violent player. He’s a force. He really can kind of set the tempo for all that.”