Renewed DE Charles Harris ready to shine for Miami Dolphins

Charles Harris feels ready to max out his second season. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — Charles Harris feels like a new man heading into his second season with the Dolphins, and it’s clear just by looking at his face that something is different.

After being selected No. 22 in last year’s draft, the transition to the NFL left Harris dazed at times. He had gone from being one of the biggest defensive stars in the SEC to a backup for the Dolphins, he wasn’t getting many sacks, he was unprepared for the financial windfall, work sometimes felt like drudgery and he was struggling to adapt to life on his own in a new environment.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact impact all of those factors had on Harris, but he was often downcast in the locker room after practice. He kept to himself mostly as he fought his way through what he now describes as “a dark place.” An offseason of prayer and reflection led to a renewed enthusiasm for Harris, and the change in his demeanor seems to have more to do with his personal life than anything football-related.

“Now I’m cool,” he said. “I understand that everything that happened the way it was, it was for the better of me and my family and everything like that. I understand that everything I do on the field and off the field affects everybody around me.

“I’ve got me a community down here being in Florida, being away from home, and that was a big thing. Now I have a community, I’ve got friends, I have everything I need to get to the top.”

Harris played all 16 games last season, but started just twice because he was behind Cameron Wake and Andre Branch. He played 47.5 percent of the defensive snaps and posted two sacks.

While no defensive end goes into the season targeting two sacks as an ambitious goal, he was satisfied with how he played. So were the Dolphins, who have several next-level statistics that indicate he was a strong presence as a pass rusher despite not racking up sacks.

There was still a constant feeling of confusion, and that often led him to treat football like merely a job. “I was just checking boxes every day; I came in, punched in, punched out,” he said. A lot of jobs are like that, but the NFL isn’t one of them. It takes a deeper commitment, especially for someone like Harris who aspires to be an elite defensive end, and his offseason soul-searching prompted a different approach to football.

“I feel like I just got better mentally, spiritually and things like that,” said Harris, who is a Christian. “Being able to take care of my family, get stuff done off the field and understanding grace and stuff like that. I’m better mentally. (That) is going to transition everything else.”

As for the direct effect that had on him football-wise, Harris said it motivated him to use his abilities to honor God: “This year it’s like I love it. I love it because I understand what it means to work. This is my work and use it as my worship.”

There’s an increased comfort level that comes experience, too. Not that he ever had trouble learning the playbook as a rookie, but he’s got a better handle on every aspect of the job now compared to a year ago.

“It’s less of a burden, for real,” he said. “It’s just free. Just playing free.”

With his mind in a better place on and off the field, Harris is heading into an amorphous opportunity this season.

The Dolphins are set on Wake and new trade acquisition Robert Quinn as their starting defensive ends, but the coaches have said multiple times the second wave of Branch and Harris will get ample snaps. The goal is spread playing time more evenly now that the team believes it has four starting-caliber defensive ends, plus veteran William Hayes and anyone else who emerges during the preseason.

That’s part of why Harris was undeterred by the team trading for Quinn, rather than simply let him battle Branch for a starting job. As accomplished as Wake and Quinn are — they’ve combined for seven Pro Bowl selections and 154.5 career sacks — Harris believes he’ll get enough chances if he shows he deserves them.

“Light is always going to shine,” he said. “I feel like you can’t contain nobody. You can’t keep anybody off the field. It’s the coaches that make sure … the best players are out there. That’s something they handle. I’m going to take it every single day and work as hard as I can, and we’ll see on game day.”

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Dolphins DE Cameron Wake saw ‘missed opportunities’ for sacks in 2017

Cameron Wake isn’t fixated on sack statistics, but he knows the Dolphins’ numbers should be better. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — One of the Dolphins’ biggest problems last season was that they were in the top 10 in defensive line spending and the bottom 10 in sacks.

That’s not Cameron Wake’s fault. He had another double-digit year (his third straight healthy season doing so) with 10.5, but the rest of the team had just 19.5. Only five teams had fewer than Miami’s 30 sacks last season (25.5 from the defensive line), and that’s part of why opposing quarterbacks lit up the Dolphins on a weekly basis.

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“There were a lot of missed opportunities sometimes,” Wake said this week. “I’m not a sack counter. I think you guys know that about me. I honestly couldn’t even tell you where we ranked. I know as a defense and as a team, we didn’t get to where we should’ve.”

The Dolphins were counting mainly on the starting duo of Wake and Branch, which combined for 17 sacks the year before, as well as a significant contribution from first-round pick Charles Harris.

Branch, fresh off signing a three-year, $24 million contract, had three sacks in the first four games before injuries derailed his season. He was hurt most of the year and finished with 4.5 in 14 games.

Harris had a lot of close calls in the backfield, but managed just two sacks.

“If you look at the guys we had and our expectations, we weren’t there,” Wake said. “If we were to have success as a team… I just want to get everybody on the same page as far as winning the game on Sunday and us reaching our potential.

“Obviously potential to be at the top of the sack numbers should be there, but I think that comes with all of the other pieces of the puzzle, whether it’s stopping the run, third-down numbers, some things offenses are going to do or not do. All of that ties into what you get to do as far as getting to the quarterback.”

Miami’s disappointing defensive line play led to major changes this offseason. The team cut Suh, absorbing the biggest dead salary cap hit in league history, and traded for former all-pro defensive end Robert Quinn. The plan this year is to balance snaps at defensive end among a first unit of Wake and Quinn and a second unit of Branch and Harris.

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Dolphins DE Cameron Wake: Robert Quinn ‘a bear’ for opposing offenses

The combination of Quinn and Wake should be scary. (Los Angeles Times)

DAVIE — Cameron Wake didn’t complain about the Dolphins’ existing group of defensive ends, but he was happy to hear they were trading for former all-pro Robert Quinn this offseason.

Wake hasn’t had a running mate of this caliber since Olivier Vernon in 2013, so this sounds pretty good to him.

“Pleasantly pleased,” Wake said of his reaction to the Quinn acquisition. “I can’t say I knew him personally before now, but knew of him. Obviously watched his body of work. Tremendous, tremendous football player. I can say he’s a great man and a great teammate. I’m actually smiles all around for that acquisition, for sure.”

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Wake, 36, is coming off his second-straight double-digit sack season. He had 10.5 last year, but the rest of the team combined for just 19.5. The total of 30 put Miami sixth-worst in the NFL.

Quinn is three years removed from being an elite pass rusher for the Rams, but the Dolphins are optimistic he can get back to that level. He’s only 28, and they believe two of the factors working against him the last few seasons (health and scheme) aren’t an issue anymore.

Quinn put up an incredible 19-sack season in 2013 and followed with 10.5 the year after. Over the next three seasons, he missed 16 games and managed just 17.5 sacks.

Now that he’s healthy again and playing a more comfortable role as a conventional defensive end, rather than working at outside linebacker like he did in Los Angeles, Quinn has been wowing coaches and teammates during offseason practices.

“It’s probably a combination of (genetics), hard work, flexibility and just that wisdom of where the quarterback is going to be,” Wake said. “(There are) things that he’s probably repeated and done through repetition 10 million times throughout his career. It’s one of those things where it’s looking across, I see it and I know for an offensive lineman, that’s a bear. I’m going to enjoy watching it on Sundays. I’m sure you guys will, too.”

Quinn and Wake are projected to be Miami’s starting defensive ends, with Charles Harris and Andre Branch coming in the second “wave” as the team looks to balance out playing time among its linemen.

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Mentoring Dolphins DE Charles Harris incredibly rewarding for Cameron Wake

Charles Harris is Cameron Wake’s protege. (Bill Ingram/The Post)

DAVIE — No one from the Dolphins had to ask Cameron Wake to take on a teaching role when they drafted defensive end Charles Harris last year. Not threatened by the team spending a first-round pick on someone at his position, Wake was eager to be a mentor if that’s what Harris wanted.

It’s hard to come up with a better role model for Harris than Wake, who is going into his 10th season and seems as dangerous as ever at age 36. It helps that he’s willing to take that on and do everything he can to help.

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“I probably enjoy that (almost) as much as playing football,” Wake said. “There’s so much that you gain playing this game and being in the locker room and just going through life as an NFL player that no teacher can teach you, no pamphlet, no seminar. Most coaches don’t understand and don’t know.

“You’d have to have been in the mix. A lot of the lessons I learned early on in my career were from guys who played 10-plus years in the league and said, ‘Listen, this is how you get to the quarterback. This is what to look for on Sunday. This is what to look for off the field. Don’t do this. This is how you’re going to get that second contract.’

“To me, I want to see everybody win. I want you to make the most money, get the most sacks.”

Wake hasn’t decided what he’ll do when he retires, which could still be a long way off, but he’s mentioned his love of coaching a few times.

Harris came in as the No. 22 overall pick last year and played behind Wake and Andre Branch. He finished his rookie season with two sacks, two pass breakups and 19 tackles.

This year, he is currently slated to be a reserve again, but could get a bigger opportunity. The Dolphins appear to be going with Wake and Robert Quinn as their starting defensive ends, followed by Branch and Harris, but defensive line coach Kris Kocurek said the plan is to balance their snap counts in order to keep them as fresh as possible.

As Harris continues his progression, Wake will be there for him.

“Whatever you need, whether on the field, off the field, anything, I am completely open,” Wake said. “I want to share that wisdom because it’s not like I can go to other (jobs) and tell them, ‘This is how you do this pass rush,’ or, ‘This is how to work as an NFL player.’ I can only speak to a certain group who has the ability and who will be able to implement the things that I’m saying.

“It’s kind of that use it or lose it. I’m not going to take it with me and give it to anyone else. I’ve got to give it to the Charles Harrises of the world to hopefully apply the same way the Jason Taylors of the world (did) for me.”

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Miami Dolphins believe DE Charles Harris poised for big jump in 2018

Dolphins defensive end Charles Harris will get a bigger chance in 2018. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — There’s a striking difference between the way Charles Harris’ rookie year was viewed inside the Dolphins’ building and how it was seen by the public.

On the surface, it wasn’t great. Despite Cameron Wake pushing into his mid-30s and Andre Branch fighting injuries most of the season, Harris got just 47 percent of the defensive snaps and had two starts. The basic numbers — two sacks and 19 tackles — weren’t amazing either. People usually want more from a guy who was selected No. 22 overall.

But the organization saw a guy who came in with uncommon maturity for a rookie and did everything right. Harris immediately established himself as a worker, and that track record is why Miami has high expectations for him within its remodeled defensive line.

“He’s one of the guys I’m least worried about,” coach Adam Gase said.

There was production, too, just not the kind everyone readily recognizes. According to statistics the organization tracks, Harris was among the best on the team in causing opponents to commit holding penalties, batting down balls at the line of scrimmage and registering quarterback hurries.

This year’s depth chart would seem to present even less of an opportunity for Harris now that the Dolphins have traded for Robert Quinn, but the new philosophy of rotating defensive ends to keep them fresh could work in his favor.

Defensive line coach Kris Kocurek plans to “roll guys through” each game, and Harris said they’ve got names like Alpha and Bravo groups. The top line is certainly going to be Wake and Quinn, but Harris is in line for significant opportunities in the second wave.

“We’re just rolling,” Harris said. “In practice we’re going hard, we’re going fast. It’s just crazy. There isn’t any drop off.”

Kocurek, by the way, was quickly impressed by Harris when got on the field with him this spring. He said, “It’s hard to outwork Charles,” and it’s clear he’s serious about becoming a big-time pass rusher in the NFL.

There’s also the possibility that Harris could cut into Wake and Quinn’s playing time. Wake had double-digit sacks each of the last two seasons, but he’s 36. Quinn is a former all-pro, but injuries and other struggles limited him to 17.5 sacks in 32 games over the last three seasons.

At the NFL Combine in February, days before the Dolphins struck a deal with the Rams to land Quinn, Gase made clear he and the staff believe Harris was a contributor last year and expected him to compete for a starting job this season.

“It’s always interesting that first year when d-ends come in from college, that transition from play-action passes or the run game, then have to transition to a pass,” Gase said. “It’s not as easy as you think. When it’s third down, you can see that’s really where he’s more comfortable.

“The more football he plays, the better he’s going to get. I thought he had a pretty good year this year. He did a lot of good things and we’re excited about what he showed us.”

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Miami Dolphins’ Andre Branch blames 2017 season on complacency

Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch during organized team activities Wednesday. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — Two days, two defensive veterans, one conclusion.

A major reason the Dolphins’ defense didn’t set the world on fire last season was because it didn’t have much fire itself. Cornerback Bobby McCain said so Tuesday, and on Wednesday, defensive end Andre Branch seconded that narrative.

“There’s a sense of urgency now,” Branch said. “Last year was kind of complacent for us.”

Compare that to what McCain said.

“Personally, I feel like we lost a bit of fire,” McCain said. “We lost that spark to get us going. … We lost that … ‘Your back is against the wall, go get it.’ The year before, if the offense makes a turnover, OK, boom. The ball is on our own territory on the 20-yard line, let’s stop them to a field goal.’ We kind of lost that go out and get it, go out and make a stop (attitude).”

The defense ranked 16th in the league last season, which actually represented an improvement over the No. 29 ranking the year before. But it’s nowhere near what the Dolphins paid for — especially when Ndamukong Suh was around — nor is it what they need if they continue to be offensively challenged.

Branch, for one, expects coordinator Matt Burke’s unit to be much improved in 2018.

“We know what we have,” Branch said. “We can’t make excuses now. It’s time to really live up to that and put on.”

Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux was asked to compare this offseason to last year, when he was a rookie.

“This one is intense,” he said.

Godchaux attributed some of it to new line coach Kris Kocurek’s style.

“He’s big on effort and he’s big on attacking,” Godchaux said. “Last year we weren’t attacking as much.”

Now it’s a matter of carrying it through the season — and making sure players aren’t bemoaning in similar ways next summer.

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Dolphins defensive line will change its approach under Kris Kocurek

The defensive line will take a different approach under Kris Kocurek. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — Star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh played an insane 84 percent of the Dolphins’ defensive snaps last season, and they don’t want to see anyone doing that this year.

The new template for the renovated defensive line is to send players in “waves,” as position coach Kris Kocurek put it today. Miami believes it has enough talent to do that, and the collection of defensive ends and tackles will theoretically be better in smaller doses.

“Right now we don’t really have any depth chart set, but all I know is we’re looking for 8-10 guys,” said Kocurek, who was hired in January to replace Terrell Williams. “We’re gonna roll guys through games. We want to keep our guys fresh throughout four quarters and keep our guys fresh through 16 games… and try to keep snap counts down as much as we can and go as fast as we can and as hard as we can.”

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That’s a different approach than last year, but change should be a good thing in this case. The Dolphins didn’t get nearly the return they expected from the fourth-most expensive defensive line in the NFL.

Last season, at a cost of $36.1 million on the line, the team finished 26th in sacks at 30, with 25.5 of those coming from linemen. That works out to one every 19 pass plays, which is part of the reason the Dolphins were among the worst in the NFL in opponent passer rating and completion percentage.

They reallocated their spending to emphasize pass rushers and accepted a massive dead money hit to their salary cap in order to let Suh go and get out of some of what they owed him. The key pieces on this d-line are defensive ends Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn, each of whom has a 15-sack season on their résumé.

Wake is 36 and continues to make that number mostly irrelevant. He has 22 sacks over the last two seasons since coming back from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Quinn is still considered to be in his prime at 28, but it’s been four years since he was considered elite at his position. He was an all-pro selection in 2013 with 19 sacks and followed up with 10.5 the next year, but managed a total of just 17.5 over the next three seasons in part due to injury. He had 8.5 last year to go with 32 tackles and two forced fumbles.

“It’s just scheme,” Kocurek said. “He was asked to do something differently than he had done in the past going from strictly a 4-3 type guy to being more of a stand-up outside linebacker type. It’s not an easy transition sometimes. It’s not like he played bad.”
Behind those two are a pair of enigmas: Andre Branch and Charles Harris.

Harris was the team’s first-round pick last year and played well as a backup, but had only two sacks. He graded out well overall and was among the team’s most disruptive players in some nuanced statistics like passes batted down, quarterback hurries and penalties drawn.

“Very serious about his craft,” Kocurek said of Harris. “Works extremely, extremely hard. It’s hard to outwork Charles. Wants to get better (and) strives to get better every single day.
“As a rookie, it’s always hard. As a defensive end coming in as a rookie, I thought he played well. Now we need to take that next step.”
Branch impressed the Dolphins in 2016 and earned a three-year, $24 million extension in the ensuing offseason, but was limited by injuries last season and didn’t produce like he wanted. If he’s healthy this year, he’ll be a valuable part of the line.

The Dolphins also have veteran William Hayes, who is particularly excellent as a run stopper, on their bench.

The interior is less of a priority, as indicated by the Dolphins’ spending. With an emphasis on creating a crew of top-level edge rushers, the team is willing to go young and cheap at defensive tackle.

One reason they think that’ll work is second-year player Davon Godchaux, who performed well enough last year to be a part-time starter and is expected to take over that spot permanently this year. Miami also has veterans Jordan Phillips and Akeem Spence, as well as second-year man Vincent Taylor.

If Kocurek can find at least eight really good weapons from among that group, he feels good about the defensive line making a resurgence in 2018.

“So far, I like the talent, but the talent’s gotta work,” he said. “That’s the thing these guys have been doing. Since Day One, they’ve bought into the work ethic that we’re looking for. They show up every day prepared and just make sure we get better one day at a time and maximize the abilities the best we can.”

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Who are the most expensive Miami Dolphins players in 2018?

Ryan Tannehill is seventh on the Dolphins in salary cap hit this year. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

The Dolphins have their roster mostly in place for the offseason, though they will explore some options after June 1, and it’s clear which positions they’re prioritizing based on the money they’re spending.

For a look a which position groups have the biggest salary cap commitments, click here.

As far as individuals go, new defensive end Robert Quinn will be the most expensive player on the team this year. That honor would’ve gone to Ndamukong Suh if Miami had kept him and his scheduled $26.1 million cap hit.

Jarvis Landry would’ve been around $16 million after signing the franchise tag had Miami not shipped him to Cleveland for draft picks.

Quinn, who came over in a trade with the Rams, will carry a team-high cap hit of $11.4 million this season and $12.9 million next year according to Spotrac. His 2019 cap number is currently third behind Ryan Tannehill ($26.6 million) and safety Reshad Jones ($17.1 million).

Fellow defensive end Andre Branch is next at $10 million, which could put him in a precarious position as Miami proceeds with Quinn and Cameron Wake as its starting defensive ends. Branch was strong in 2016 and earned a three-year, $24 million extension, but had to fight through injuries for much of last year.

Kenny Stills will have the biggest cap number on offense at $9.8 million, and linebacker Kiko Alonso ($9.7 million) and Wake ($9.6 million) round out the top five.

Tannehill will be seventh at a dirt cheap (for quarterbacks) cap hit of $8.7 million. That’s 24th in the NFL at his position, and the team ranks 27th in quarterback spending with him, Brock Osweiler and David Fales.

Tannehill was originally set to get $60.4 million fairly evenly spread out over the 2018-20 seasons, but restructured this offseason for upcoming cap hits of $8.7 this year, $26.6 million next season and $25.1 in 2020.

Among the great values on this year’s roster are starting defensive tackle Davon Godchaux with a cap hit of about $605,484 and running back Kenyan Drake at $910,315.

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Cutting Ndamukong Suh hurts, but Dolphins never should’ve signed him

The Dolphins are done with Ndamukong Suh. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

Splashy free agent signings are fun. Really fun. But they aren’t always prudent.

The Dolphins got what they wanted out of Ndamukong Suh, who continued to be among the absolute elite defensive tackles in the NFL during his three seasons with the team, but from the start he was a luxury they couldn’t afford. They finally see that, and ESPN reported this morning they’ve made the painful decision to cut him.

It’s not as simple as letting him go and erasing the $76 million they would’ve been paying him over the next three seasons. Miami gets out of some of that, but it’s still going to cost about $9 million in salary cap space this season to send Suh packing.

That stings, but it’s worth it.

Not because Suh is any kind of problem, but because this isn’t how good teams typically allocate their money. One defensive tackle taking up a little over 14 percent of the total payroll forces a team to cut too many corners at other positions.

No single player on the Patriots last season, for example, ate up more than 8.6 percent of their cap space. For the champion Eagles, the high was 6.2 percent.

Think of the positions where the Dolphins struggled last year. Offensive line, linebacker and tight end immediately come to mind. They were in the bottom 11 in spending at each of those positions. Even with the brutal dead money left on Suh’s contract, there’s a newfound ability to address those deficiencies.

And as well as Suh played the last three years, he wasn’t enough to give the Dolphins the ferocious defensive line they imagined when they signed him for a staggering $114 million over six years in 2015.

They’ll try it a different way with cheaper defensive tackles in Davon Godchaux, Jordan Phillips and Vincent Taylor and high-priced ends in Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn and Andre Branch. They also have 2017 first-round pick Charles Harris.

The Dolphins had the third-most expensive defensive line in the league last season and finished 26th in sacks. The year before, they were No. 1 in price tag and 19th in sacks. Even with Suh mauling people in the middle and constantly drawing double- and triple-teams, the plan wasn’t working.

Nobody was afraid to stand in the pocket against Miami’s d-line last year. It’s the reason so many quarterbacks had their best performances of the season when they faced the Dolphins.

Miami averaged one sack every 19 dropbacks, which equates to once or twice a game. That backfield was cozy compared to what quarterbacks encountered against Jacksonville, which spent its d-line money far more effectively. The Jaguars had the second-priciest unit in the league, but delivered a sack every once every 10 opportunities.

The Dolphins’ inability to infiltrate the pocket was a huge reason they ranked near the bottom of the league in opponent passer rating (94.8) and completion percentage (64.2).

The Dolphins were also 28th, 30th and 14th in run defense in his three seasons.

It’s hard to say that’s Suh’s fault when every indication was that he’s been playing some of the best football of his career.

He had 4.5 sacks, 48 tackles, two forced fumbles and Pro Football Focus ranked him No. 4 at his position. He did everything he could for Miami, playing all 48 games and staying on the field for 88.2 percent of the defensive snaps over three years. He totaled 15.5 sacks and 181 tackles.

It just didn’t matter.

Regardless of how cool it is to have a marquee name like Suh or how excellent he’s been individually, it’s impossible to justify paying that much money for someone who isn’t making an overwhelming difference in the defense. It was an unwise signing at the time, and it would’ve been even more foolish to keep proceeding down this path.

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Does Dolphins’ trade for Rams DE Robert Quinn mean somebody’s gone?

There’s no certainty Cameron Wake is back in 2018. (Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS—The Dolphins are in the market for several positions this offseason, but defensive end wasn’t thought to be one of them.

That’s what made today’s trade for longtime Rams defensive end Robert Quinn in a deal that involves an exchange of draft picks a major surprise. The Dolphins aren’t giving up much, sending this year’s fourth-round pick to the Rams and swapping spots in the sixth-round.

Quinn, 27, will join a defensive line that’s already one of the highest-priced in the NFL, and Miami didn’t get its money’s worth out of that unit last season.

While there’s a strong possibility the trade will be contingent on Quinn renegotiating his contract, he’s currently due $12.4 million this year and $12.9 million in 2019.

Add that to the $8.6 million Miami owes Cameron Wake this season and the two years and $19 million remaining on Andre Branch’s deal, and it suggests the Dolphins are planning to move on from somebody. Obviously Charles Harris, last year’s No. 22 overall pick, isn’t going anywhere.

Quinn, a two-time Pro Bowler and a 2013 all-pro, had 8.5 sacks in 15 games for Los Angeles last year. That’s not amazing, but it’s more than any Dolphin other than Wake has had in a season over the last four years.

If Miami can afford to keep Quinn and it’s other three top defensive ends, that’s a solid group. It’s also an expensive one. Prior to the Quinn acquisition, the Dolphins had $51.6 million in defensive line commitments for the upcoming season. More than half of that is for Ndamukong Suh, who is a candidate for restructuring this offseason.

If someone needs to go for the Dolphins to bring Quinn on board, there’s no guarantee Wake will be back. He’s coming off two straight double-digit sack seasons following his ruptured Achilles tendon in 2015, but he just turned 36.

He played 58.3 percent of the snaps last year, most among Miami’s defensive ends, and had 10.5 sacks. Over the final 10 games of the season, he had 4.5. His 92 sacks are second in franchise history only to Jason Taylor’s 131.

According to Spotrac, the team can get out of Wake’s deal for $3.5 million this offseason.

That’s less than it would cost the Dolphins to move on from Branch, who would cost them nearly $12 million in dead salary cap money if they cut him. If Miami can afford this crew for a year, Branch is much more vulnerable next spring when the team can let him go for a $2 million hit rather than pay him $9 million.

This almost certainly signals the end for 32-year-old William Hayes, who was an effective defensive end off the bench last season before going on Injured Reserve in November.

The idea of Quinn turning around a pass rush that was 26th in the league in sacks last year has some merit, but it’s no sure thing. He battled injuries in 2015 and ’16, when he totaled nine sacks in 17 games.

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