Extra Points: Dolphins, Bears, Vikes, Lions, Draft

The Dolphins’ front office and coaching staff apparently aren’t the only areas they’re going to overhaul during the offseason. The team will also make big changes to its 27th-ranked defense, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Miami ranks 24th in passing yards allowed and 25th in rating against (98.8), so it plans to strengthen its secondary in the coming months. That means adding two new cornerbacks, asking veteran corner Brent Grimes ($9.5MM cap hit in 2016) to restructure his contract, and finding another safety to complement Reshad Jones. Free agent-to-be Eric Weddle, a three-time Pro Bowler with San Diego, would be open to an offer from the Dolphins, Jackson writes. He and Jones would form an excellent tandem, but it will cost the Dolphins (or anyone else) a lot to land Weddle.

Along the front seven, the Dolphins want to keep end Cameron Wake, who tore his Achilles’ tendon in October. Doing so might require the soon-to-be 34-year-old to restructure his deal, as he’s set to count nearly $10MM against the club’s cap next season. The Dolphins hope to continue pairing Olivier Vernon with Wake to generate a pass rush, but Vernon is a free agent and retaining him might be unrealistic.

“I only get one shot [at free agency], so I’m not [doing] a hometown discount,” said Vernon.

Miami also needs to upgrade at linebacker, where Jackson believes the team will look to add one or two new starters. They could either cut Koa Misi or move him back to the middle if they’re unable to find a better outside solution than MLB Kelvin Sheppard.

More from around the NFL:

  • The Bears are open to a long-term deal with receiver Alshon Jeffery, CSNChicago.com reports. The 6-foot-3, 216-pounder landed on injured reserve Wednesday after totaling 54 catches, 807 yards and four touchdowns this year in just nine games. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is primed to cash in soon, be it with the Bears or someone else, having accumulated 228 receptions, well over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns over the last three years (41 games).
  • Like Jeffery, Vikings right guard Mike Harris is also a pending free agent. His ideal scenario includes re-signing with Minnesota rather than testing the open market.That’s the hope,” Harris said, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It’d be wonderful. It’d be a dream come true.” The fourth-year man has made a career-best 15 starts this season and earned a positive assessment from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which ranks him 24th out of 81 qualifying guards.
  • Continuing the soon-to-be free agent theme, Lions safety Isa Abdul-Quddus is scheduled to hit the market in the offseason. That’s good timing, notes Kyle Meinke of MLive.com, as Abdul-Quddus is in line for a payday thanks to a career year. Abdul-Quddus, whom PFF ranks an impressive 20th out of 87 qualifying safeties, is hoping that payday comes in Detroit. “I love it here,” the 26-year-old told Meinke. “I love the coaching staff. I love Coach (Jim) Caldwell. I love everything here man, and I’d love to come back.”
  • Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee will enter the 2016 draft, Chase Goodbread of NFL.com tweets. Lee, a redshirt sophomore, is following the same path as teammates Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott and Cardale Jonesall of whom declared for the draft earlier this week.
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