The Dolphins are the “clear front-runners” in the Mario Williams sweepstakes, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. According to Florio, Miami is expected to make a push on Tuesday to get something done with the veteran pass rusher, who doesn’t have to wait until Wednesday to sign. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report adds (via Twitter) that the two sides appear to be nearing a deal.
2015 was an ugly season for Williams, who didn’t mesh well with Rex Ryan and the new head coach’s defensive scheme, and was accused of displaying a lack of effort at times. Williams is only a year removed from an All-Pro season in which he piled up 14.5 sacks though, so even though he turned 31 in January, he likely still has something left in the tank.
A Monday report indicated that Williams told teams he would sign right away if he received an offer worth $10MM annually. If the Dolphins are confident about signing him, I’d imagine the team’s proposal will approach that figure — Cole suggests it may be worth in the neighborhood of $8MM per year.
The Dolphins have been very active within the last week or so, creating cap space by restructuring Ndamukong Suh‘s and Jordan Cameron‘s contracts and by cutting Greg Jennings, among other moves. However, the team is also set to add Byron Maxwell‘s salary in a team with the Eagles, and has Olivier Vernon in limbo on a transition tag worth nearly $13MM.
It’s hard to imagine the Dolphins keeping both Vernon and Cameron Wake on the roster a their current prices if the team gets something done with Williams. It remains to be seen whether that might mean removing the transition tag from Vernon or addressing Wake’s contract via restructure or release.
The Giants and Jaguars are among the other teams with reported interest in Williams, though a report this morning suggested New York was a long shot.
Here’s more on the Dolphins:
- The Dolphins are in conversations with a few veteran free agent guards, including Alex Boone of the 49ers, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson observes that Boone has a good relationship with new Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster, who was in San Francisco last season.
- A source tells Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link) that Jordan Cameron‘s contract restructure with the Dolphins will reduce his 2016 earnings to $6MM, adding no extra years to the end of the deal.
- It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that free agent running back Lamar Miller will re-sign with the Dolphins, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.