The Dolphins’ curious safety situation added another chapter Thursday when Kenny Vaccaro, a free agent from New Orleans, planned to visit Davie.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported the visit.
Vaccaro, 27, was a first-round draft pick, 15th overall, out of Texas in 2013 who became an instant starter with the Saints and in his five-year career started 67 of the 68 games he played.
But he missed four games in 2016 while serving a suspension for testing positive for Adderall.
The Dolphins are looking at Vaccaro, who’s 6-feet and 214, despite safety being one of the few settled positions on the team with Pro Bowl pick Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald.
Vaccaro shifted around in the Saints’ defense, lining up at nickel, strong safety, free safety and in a linebacker-like role, so it’s possible the Dolphins might envision having him on the field with Jones and McDonald.
Vaccaro’s presence comes following speculation — including by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper — that the Dolphins could go for FSU safety Derwin James in the first round.
The buzz surrounding Vaccaro and James only seems to underscore how frustrated the Dolphins are at their longstanding inability to cover tight ends, including New England’s Rob Gronkowski.
Interestingly, Vaccaro was benched — and not for the first time — last September after giving up two big plays to Gronkowski in a 36-20 loss to the Patriots.
“I’m staying here until they don’t want me no more,” Vaccaro told nola.com after that game amid rumors the Saints might trade him.
Coach Sean Payton said he wanted to give snaps to Vonn Bell. Regarding Vaccaro, Payton said, “We’ve got to keep working with his consistency and his alignments.”
ESPN reporter Mike Triplett, recognizing that Vaccaro’s time in New Orleans was ending, recently characterized his time there with the phrase “unrealized potential.”
Vaccaro has eight interceptions in his career plus 283 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Last season he had three interceptions, 1.5 sacks, 48 tackles and seven passes defensed.
According to Spotrac, Jones’ cap hit this season is $4.9 million (with $16.7 million in dead cap money). McDonald’s numbers are $2.5 million and $8.9 million dead. Vaccaro’s cap number last year was $5.7 million.