With free agency in full swing, most of the early signings around the NFL have involved enormous contracts, which has precluded some teams from being as active in the process. Add the Miami Dolphins to that group, as the team has mostly focused on two trades (essentially swapping Branden Albert for Julius Thomas), signing their own players to keep them in-house (Kenny Stills, Andre Branch, Reshad Jones, Kiko Alonso), and some reasonably priced moves that are uncharacteristic of the usual Miami style.
That changed when the Dolphins signed linebacker Lawrence Timmons to a contract this week. The deal is for two years and is worth $12 million dollars with $11 million of that guaranteed. The large guarantee may be a result of Miami's determination to draw Timmons away from the Pittsburgh Steelers who were fighting to retain him.
Timmons was a first round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007 and has been a starter since 2009, a timeframe in which he’s shown remarkable durability, missing just two games in the past eight seasons.
The Steelers were reportedly trying to make Timmons their top priority, but in a situation similar to wide receiver Kenny Stills, the team didn’t stand in the way of the player testing the free agent market and finding out what kind of offers were available. And unlike Stills, who re-signed with Miami, Timmons found the grass greener on the other side.
Apparently Miami made an early impression with the huge amount of guaranteed dollars.
Timmons will turn 31 this year, and his deal takes take that into consideration by not making it long-term, but he was highly effective last season, posting 114 total tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and four tackles for a loss. He also had 2.5 sacks and broke up four pass attempts.
The Dolphins are actively trying to upgrade their linebacker corps to play alongside Kiko Alonso, as injuries/ineffectiveness at the outside linebacker positions hurt the team badly last season. Now Timmons will be an excellent stop-gap while Miami aims for their second consecutive playoff berth and waits for the right time to take care of positions through the draft.
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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