Drew Rosenhaus On Dolphins C Connor Williams’ Free Agency Timeline

As perhaps the best center eligible for unrestricted free agency — aside from the Eagles’ Jason Kelce, who will either retire or return to Philadelphia — the Dolphins’ Connor Williams would ordinarily be one of the first players to put pen to paper on a lucrative contract when the 2024 league year opens on March 13. As agent Drew Rosenhaus notes, however, the ACL tear that Williams suffered in December may have altered that timeline.

“I do think that we’re going to be very methodical and take our time relative to the contract,” Rosenhaus said in a recent appearance on AM 560 Sports WQAM (as relayed by Daniel Oyefusi of the Miami Herald). “A lot of it may be predicated on how Connor is feeling physically. He may not be a player that signs at the very start of free agency. He may take more time based on how he’s feeling physically.”

Williams, who is entering his age-27 season, just finished the two-year, $14MM contract he signed with the Dolphins in March 2022 after spending the first four years of his career as a guard for the Cowboys. Miami shifted him to the pivot, and he immediately took to the change, performing like one of the league’s best centers in his first year in South Beach. He stayed away from minicamp last summer in an effort to leverage his 2022 success into a reworked deal, but the ‘Fins did not oblige.

In the eyes of Pro Football Focus, Williams played even better in 2023 than he did in 2022, earning a stellar 86.5 overall grade that positioned him behind only the Lions’ Frank Ragnow among qualified centers. It sounds as if he is prepared to slow play his second trip to the open market in order to prove to interested clubs that he is on the mend and will be able to return to the level of performance he has established with Miami.

Spotrac estimates that Williams is worth a five-year contract featuring an average annual value of $13.5MM, which would place him alongside Ragnow at the top of the NFL’s center hierarchy. Assuming that his recovery progresses as hoped, it would not be surprising to see teams in need of a high-end starter in the middle of their O-line make that type of offer. While neither Rosenhaus nor Oyefusi explicitly say that the Dolphins will pursue a reunion, they surely would be interested in continuing their relationship with Williams given how he has thrived in head coach Mike McDaniels‘ offense.

But again, it will apparently be some time before more clarity emerges on Williams’ status and market.

“Connor’s situation has a degree of uncertainty that’s going to be tied to how he’s feeling,” Rosenhaus said. “And really, we’ll just take it one day at a time once we get into the offseason. But I’m not sure that that is one that’ll be resolved as quickly as some of the other players that we represent.”

For what it’s worth, PFF is more bearish than Spotrac on Williams’ potential market and predicts that he will ultimately land a three-year, $22.5MM contract (subscription required).

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