DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins had a big hole at defensive tackle with Paul Soliai and Randy Starks becoming unrestricted free agents. But the Fins appear to have quickly filled that void in the first few minutes of free agency.

According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, the Dolphins have signed former Houston Texans nose tackle Earl Mitchell to be a starting defensive tackle. Last season, Mitchell had 48 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Texans.

ESPN reported the deal is for four-years and worth $16 million with $9 million guaranteed.

Mitchell wasn’t used as a 4-3 defensive tackle last season. Instead his primary responsibility as a nose tackle for the Texans was to take on double teams from opposing linemen to allow J.J. Watt more freedom to wreak havoc on an opponent’s backfield.

The 26-year-old Mitchell stands 6’3” and weighs around 300 pounds, but is still very fast (ran a 4.75 40-yard-dash). He was a third-round pick of the Texans out of the University of Arizona in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Since he entered the league, Mitchell has missed just one game, which was during his rookie year. Over the last three years, he’s played in all 16 games. He’s also likely to cost a team a large contract as his youth and ability will put his services in high demand.

The addition of Mitchell and Branden Albert in the first few minutes of free agency give the Dolphins a quick and early haul of young, talented players for both sides of the ball.


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