Top 5 2016 NFL free agency defensive lineman
By Brian Miller
The 2016 NFL free agency class of defensive lineman is good but last season the Miami Dolphins unloaded their salary cap on Ndamukong Suh. Will they be big spenders this year at the position? Not likely.
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The Dolphins currently have Suh, Jordan Phillips, and Earl Mitchell as their starting interior defensive players but Mitchell was not very good last year and Phillips was inconsistent in his rookie season. It’s unclear whether the Dolphins view this position as a top off-season priority and the draft may be where they look if they do.
With so many other needs on the team, it’s unlikely the Dolphins will take a high end approach to this position. Here are five players that could draw interest from the Dolphins.
Paul Soliai – Atlanta. Soliai didn’t seem to fit with the Falcons defense after he left Miami via free agency. It’s been reported that he has interest in returning to the Dolphins and that interest may be mutual. Solia should thrive next to Suh and his signing would eliminate the need to keep Mitchell.
B.J. Raji – GB. The days of B.J. Raji in Green Bay are likely over and while Raji is nowhere near the player he was early in his career he could provide a boost to a defensive line that struggled against the run and pass rush last season. Raji could benefit from playing next to Suh.
Tony McDaniel – TB. McDaniel was another former Dolphin who made his name elsewhere. He played with the Seahawks and last year with the Buc’s. McDaniel is 31 years old but could still be a value signing to pair with Phillips in a rotation.
A.J. Francis – Seattle. Yet another former Dolphins defensive lineman. Francis at 25 has not reached his full potential yet or maybe he has and teams are realizing that. Francis wouldn’t be an immediate starter but would likely be a better and cheaper option than Mitchell.
Da’Quan Bowers – Tampa. Bowers has a lot of upside and is only 26 years old but he needs to be in the right system and play alongside players that will get the most of out of him.
Another notable could be Haloti Ngata who didn’t play as well as many thought in Detroit after joining them as a free agent. Ngata with Suh would be an interesting combination depending on Ngata’s salary demands.