The Dolphins may have signaled a sign of many things to come when it agreed to sign 31-year-old defensive end Mario Williams to a two-year deal late Tuesday afternoon.READ MORE: Florida's Fallen Firefighters Honored At 'Ringing Of The Bell' Ceremony
Williams, a former No. 1 overall pick of the Houston Texans, spent the past four seasons with Miami’s AFC East rival Buffalo Bills – having signed a six-year, contract worth up to $100 million ($49.5 million guaranteed) with the club back in 2012.
Miami brings in Williams on an $8 million per year salary. Williams totaled 38 sacks in his first three seasons with the Bills but only registered five sacks in 2015 – playing in head coach Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense. Reports came out that Williams was unhappy with his role and “checked out” at one point, according to teammates in Buffalo.
Now, Williams – who has totaled 14 sacks in a season twice in his career and has 96 total in 10 seasons – will line up on the same defensive line as Ndamukong Suh in Miami’s 4-3 scheme.
Signing the 6-foot-6, 295-pound Williams, who was released by Buffalo at the beginning of the month, appears to be the next played card in how Miami will play its hand when it comes to defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake.READ MORE: Fall Is The Season Of Winning With New Florida Lottery Scratch Off Games
The Dolphins placed a transition tag on Vernon last week. The one-year transition tag for a defensive end is worth $12.734 million, according to the NFLPA. Under the tag, other teams can still negotiate with Vernon when free agency begins Wednesday, but the Dolphins will have the right to match any offers.
Reports surfaced of Miami possibly removing the tag from Vernon, but the team hasn’t made any statements supporting that.
For Wake, who’s spent all seven of his NFL seasons in Miami, Williams’ signing might mean his days a Dolphin are done. Wake missed all but seven games this past season with a torn Achilles tendon and is three years older (34) than Williams (31).
Miami has now multiple moves to retool its defense – bringing in Williams along with completing a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles that brought in cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonzo.MORE NEWS: Caught On Camera: Arson At Homestead School Playground
The Dolphins also parted ways with Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes earlier this week.