Dec 1, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) is sacked by Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon (50) during the first quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Dolphins needed to address the defensive line and specifically the defensive end position even before Cameron Wake was lost for the season against New England. Olivier Vernon is set to be a free agent and his performance in 2015 has been more detrimental than helpful. Vernon started his career in the NFL with a lot of potential and in year two he really elevated his game. He has since been sliding backwards.
Vernon was expected to be much better in 2015 ahead of his contract situation but that hasn’t been the case. Vernon has problems holding the edge and struggles rushing the passer. It’s a dual area that he has not improved in over his time in Miami. The Dolphins will be hard pressed to replace him in 2016 but the combination of Terrence Fede and Derrick Shelby will help. The bigger problem is that Miami needs to start looking at replacements for Cam Wake as well.
Wake is a big locker room leader and a fan favorite but he will be 34 next season, will be coming off an Achilles injury, and is slated to make over $8 million on the cap next season. It’s likely the Dolphins will approach him about restructuring his contract but even if they get another year out of the defensive end, they still need to find a replacement.
Miami can ill afford to enter 2016 needing two defensive ends but that is what very well could happen and it’s a problem that will force the Dolphins to look at the draft for a solution. Vernon should not be re-signed regardless of Wake’s situation. The Dolphins need to look for a replacement at both defensive end spots and Fede and Shelby are not ready for full time work.
Next: What else remains?