Extra Points: Vernon, Crosby, Bears, Draft

The fate of defensive end Olivier Vernon will shape how the Dolphins approach their offseason, writes Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to place the franchise tag ($15.7MM) or transition tag ($12.7MM) on Vernon. But doing either of those things would make it especially difficult for them to keep fellow pass rusher Cameron Wake and running back Lamar Miller, which they want to do. If he hits the open market, Vernon could end up with a long-term deal in the range of $12MM to $14MM annually, per Beasley, who adds there’s an outside possibility Miami will slap the franchise tag on the 25-year-old and then trade him.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Packers are unlikely to use the $4.572MM franchise tag on longtime kicker Mason Crosby, reports Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As of last week, there was optimism the Packers and Crosby would agree on a contract and render the tag unnecessary. If that doesn’t happen by March 7, Crosby will be free to start negotiating with other teams.
  • Even though he’s coming off a personal-best eight-sack season, the Bears could release edge rusher Lamarr Houston, one well-placed AFC executive told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Cutting Houston would open up over $4MM of cap space for the Bears this year. When PFR’s Dallas Robinson previewed the Bears’ offseason earlier this month, he named Houston as a possibility for the chopping block.
  • Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche has visits with 19 teams set up, according to Tony Pauline of WalterFootall.com. That number has increased from the 15 Pauline reported Sunday.
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