Dolphins To Sign DL Calais Campbell

JUNE 21: Campbell’s Miami return will see him receive the veteran’s minimum ($1.21MM) for a base salary, per Over the Cap. The pact includes a $790K signing bonus, resulting in a cap charge of $2MM. If Campbell can remain healthy in 2024, he should be able to provide cost-effective play against the run and pass for the Dolphins.

JUNE 13: The Dolphins are not stopping at Shaquil Barrett as a front-seven addition. They are adding one of this era’s most accomplished defensive linemen. Calais Campbell is coming back to South Florida.

After a season in Atlanta, Campbell intends to sign with the Dolphins, per’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. Campbell is a Denver native but played collegiately at Miami back in the 2000s. This will be the consistent D-lineman’s 17th NFL season. The agreement will also reunite Campbell and new Dolphins DC Anthony Weaver, who coached the stalwart interior defender with the Ravens.

Plenty of time has passed since Campbell’s previous Miami stay; he was college teammates with Frank Gore, Devin Hester and Antrel Rolle. Campbell joined the Hurricanes 20 years ago, redshirting during the 2004 season. The 37-year-old defender did return to Florida for his memorable Jaguars stay; this will complete a journey back to where he starred in college. Campbell will join a Dolphins team that lost top interior pass rusher Christian Wilkins this offseason.

Although Campbell will turn 38 in September, he is still performing at a high level. The former Cardinals draftee totaled 6.5 sacks last season, pacing the Falcons, and produced his most quarterback hits (17) since the 2019 season. His 10 tackles for loss also doubled as the most he had notched since 2019. Campbell also notched a third career safety during a productive Atlanta stay, but after the Falcons changed coaching staffs, the productive veteran will rejoin his former position coach in Miami.

New Falcons HC Raheem Morris said in April he looked forward to a Campbell meeting, keeping the door open to a return. Atlanta, which has Grady Jarrett on the road back from an ACL tear, used three draft choices to bolster its D-line this year. While the Falcons took heat for drafting Michael Penix Jr. in Round 1 and punting on its glaring need for a pass rusher, the team did circle back to help its front on Days 2 and 3 of the draft.

Standing 6-foot-8, Campbell has been one of this era’s premier inside rushers. He will enter the 2024 season with 105.5 career sacks. Among players currently on NFL rosters, only Von Miller (123.5) and Cameron Jordan (117.5) have that beat. Campbell, who is also one of the great kick blockers in NFL history, entered the NFL three years before those edge-rushing standouts. He will continue to serve as the longest-tenured defender in football.

Campbell made all six of his Pro Bowls from 2014-20, serving as a key part of the Cardinals’ successful mid-2010s defenses before anchoring the Jaguars’ “Sacksonville” efforts later in the decade. Campbell’s free agency accord with Jacksonville in 2017 played a central role in the team making a stunning run to the AFC championship game. He totaled a career-high 14.5 sacks that season and followed that up with 10.5 in 2018. As the Jags’ nucleus splintered, Campbell wound up in Baltimore via trade. He spent three seasons with the Ravens, making a Pro Bowl in 2020 and totaling 5.5 sacks in 2022.

The Dolphins lost both Wilkins and Raekwon Davis off their defensive line in free agency. While the team extended Zach Sieler last year, Wilkins broke through as a pass rusher in his contract year and signed a monster Raiders deal in free agency. The Dolphins had not ruled out retaining Wilkins, but their cap situation made that virtually impossible.

Campbell has a better record as a pass rusher, though his age obviously brings down his price tag. The historically experienced pass rusher joins Jonathan Harris, Da’Shawn Hand and Teair Tart as Miami offseason D-line additions. Campbell played for $7MM last season; it should be expected his Dolphins contract will not check in too much higher than the deals given to the other UFA D-linemen Miami added this year.

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