Miami Dolphins land Detroit DT Akeem Spence for late-round 2019 pick

The Lions’ Akeem Spence battles Kyle Long of the Bears. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Dolphins worked to fill a need at defensive tackle Thursday by trading with Detroit for Akeem Spence, who earned a raise via incentives that the Lions decided to take back.

The Dolphins will send a 2019 late-round pick to Detroit.

Spence, 26, was a fourth-round pick of Tampa Bay in 2013 who started 11 games for the Lions last season, finishing with 19 solo tackles and 20 assists. He appeared in all 16 games in 2017.

He’s from Fort Walton Beach High School.

Spence signed a three-year deal last year and earned bonuses based on playing time that would have pumped his $2.4 million salary to $3.15 million, but the Lions evidently didn’t want to pay that under the salary cap.

Spence was an instant starter as a rookie with the Bucs, finishing with 29 total tackles and one sack. He matched his career high of three sacks in 2014. He joined the Lions for 2017 on a three-year, $9 million contract.

Spence was one of eight Lions who took a knee during the national anthem before a game against Atlanta last year. Although he later stood during later renditions of the anthem as the season went on, he sent a tweet saying he was chagrined to learn kneeling cost his father a contracting job.

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