The race for linebacker Zach Brown has gone on for well over a week now. How long does one team wait before they pull their offer?
The NFL free agency period started almost three weeks ago. Most teams have made the big moves they were planning on making but there are a few big names still left on the market.
Linebacker Zach Brown is one of those big names. After four years with the Tennessee Titans he signed a one-year prove it deal with the Buffalo Bills last season and, well, proved his worth. He finished the season with 149 tackles en route to his first pro bowl bid.
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The issue at hand is what he believes he’s worth compared to what organizations believe he’s worth. It’s said that the two teams left in the race for his services are the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He’s concluded visits with both teams (also visited with Buffalo last week after Miami) and has left without a home for 2017.
Brown is asking for $6 million a year. In today’s NFL that isn’t exactly breaking the bank but at this stage in the free agency process, Miami, specifically, only has around $11 million cap space left if we’re factoring in contracts for 2017 draft picks.
Now Brown has to decide: take a contract now or wait until after the draft. Omar Kelly believe’s he’s doing the latter.
Waiting until after the draft is a risky process. Miami and Oakland may address the linebacker position then and not even need Brown anymore. Once teams don’t have an urgent need for him they’ll be offering less money.
The fact that Brown is holding out is a red flag. Does head coach Adam Gase truly want a player on the team that’s worried about getting paid more than joining an organization to win a championship? And is Brown really worth what he thinks he’s worth? Prior to last year he never started a full 16 game schedule and never had more than 100 tackles in a season. Otherwise best season came his rookie year when he had 93 tackles, 5.5 sacks and three interceptions.
NFL players are due what they deserve. But fans want players on their team that’s about the team, not the contract. That’s where the fine line meets the professional business of what is the NFL.
Brown would be an upgrade from Koa Misi. The Dolphins don’t know where Misi will be following his neck injury so they have a big decision to make. Roll with Misi and/or a rookie linebacker or pony up and pay Brown.