It would appear that free agent Zach Brown is finished visiting teams this offseason. Now the Dolphins, and others, await Brown’s decision on who he will sign with.
The Miami Dolphins hosted free agent LB Zach Brown earlier this week. Brown left the Dolphins without a contract, but the team still believes they can land a deal with the Pro Bowler.
Brown was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career last season, his first with the Buffalo Bills. His outstanding season included 149 tackles, four sacks, and two forced fumbles. He has been a hot name since the beginning of free agency, but still remains unsigned. As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald points out in his tweet, money is the likely issue.
Before visiting Miami, Brown visited the Oakland Raiders who also appear to remain in play. Around the same time that Brown was visiting with the Dolphins, the Raiders signed former Dolphins LB Jelani Jenkins to a one-year deal. Miami was hopeful in re-signing Jenkins, but Jenkins was looking to be in a starting role. With the Dolphins looking to make additions at linebacker, it was clear they viewed him more as part of the rotation.
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Two weeks ago, Miami made the move to bring in former Steeler Lawrence Timmons, a major upgrade for them at the position. In addition this week, they extended the contract of Kiko Alonso for an additional three seasons on top of this year worth $29 million with $18.5 million guaranteed. Also this week, and to the surprise of many, the Dolphins restructured the contract of Koa Misi instead of letting him go as many had expected them to do.
Many were led to believe that the moves this week were meant as a sign that Brown would not be signing with the Dolphins. This is not at all true. Others were led to believe that after Brown left South Florida to make a visit with his former team, the Bills, that he would simply re-sign with them. That is also not true, and according to Brown’s good friend, Jamal Womble, doesn’t appear likely.
If you’ve been paying any attention on Twitter regarding free agency you may have noticed that Womble seems to be Brown’s biggest spokesperson. In fact, it was he who was the first to announce that Brown would be visiting the Dolphins in the first place.
The Dolphins contract offer, whatever it may be, remains on the table. It’s unclear what they are willing to offer the veteran, but we know that Brown was initially looking for an offer at or around $6 million annually. It’s safe to assume that the Dolphins offer is well below that amount, but according to Womble, is still higher than what the Raiders had initially offered.
With the Bills appearing to be out of the picture, I’m under the impression that it’s coming down to Oakland or Miami. If Miami is able to land Brown it could turn them from one of the weakest linebacker units last season into one of the strongest. They would also not need to address the position so drastically in the upcoming NFL Draft if he indeed does sign. In the meantime, Brown is going to weigh his options carefully to make the best decision for himself and his family. All we can do is hope that that decision means he will be in a Dolphins uniform next season.