The NFL Free Agency Pool has some interesting options for the Miami Dolphins. There were many positive developments for the Miami Dolphins during the 2020 season, but perhaps one of the most significant was head coach Brian Flores establishing a rugged defensive unit which mirrors his personality.
With important contributions from many different players on the defensive side of the ball, Miami was able to lead the league in takeaways in 2020, a category they finished third to last in during the 2019 season. The addition of LB Kyle Van Noy, whom Flores was familiar with from their days with the Patriots, certainly helped improve the quality of play. LB Andrew van Ginkel, who was with the Dolphins in 2019 but was used sparingly, had a breakout campaign in 2020 punctuated by many big plays.
As Miami looks to take the next step in 2021 and qualify for the postseason, who are some free agent linebackers that the team could bring into the fold?
NFL Free Agency: 3 Linebackers who would be perfect for Miami Dolphins
#3 Anthony Walker Jr.
The Indianapolis Colts have gotten recognition as one of the best defenses in the NFL in recent seasons. This has been majorly attributed to linebacker Darius Leonard. But quietly, another linebacker in Indianapolis has carved out a nice start to his career.
Anthony Walker Jr has played four seasons with the team, and has been extremely impressive. In each of the past three seasons, he’s been in on at least 92 tackles, with his career high coming in 2019 with 124 combined tackles. If Walker does leave the only NFL home he’s ever known, it’s going to be interesting to see whether he can sustain this level of production without a Leonard-like linebacker soaking up most of the attention.
But in Miami, he can serve as a threat playing alongside Van Noy and Van Ginkel, without having to be the man.
#2 Josh Bynes
Josh Bynes spent last season playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, and like Walker, had a solid, under the radar type of season. While his solo tackle numbers have not been among the upper echelon throughout his career, Bynes was extremely active in 2020. He was involved in 99 combined tackles.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores likely doesn’t need to spend the most money on the most talented free agent defenders, as he’s slowly built up a reputation as a great leader of men and as a solid tactician. Someone like Bynes is not a high upside, high salary signing, but could fit in well as a complementary piece to an already solid unit at the Miami Dolphins.
#1 K.J. Wright
It’ll be interesting to see what type of market, and what type of desire K.J. Wright has if he’s presented with attractive offers to leave the Seattle Seahawks. Along with Bobby Wagner, Wright has been a mainstay in the Seahawks front seven for a decade, and was a main cog in some tremendously talented defenses in the Pacific Northwest.
However, Seattle’s defense struggled mightily in the first half of last season, which might leave Wright to wonder whether he should continue his career there. If he is tempted to leave, the Dolphins should be an attractive place for him. They’re on the doorstep of making the playoffs themselves, and have more cap space than Seattle does. Additionally, Miami Dolphins would love his veteran presence and toughness in what is still a relatively young locker room.