Following signing of Williams, Dolphins part with Vernon
Mar. 10, 2016
MIAMI (AP) — Before the ink had dried, the Miami Dolphins' $17 million, two-year deal with defensive end Mario Williams was looking pretty thrifty.
The signing allowed the Dolphins to part Wednesday with end Olivier Vernon. They removed their $12.7 million transition tag on Vernon, and hours later he signed an $85 million, five-year contract with the New York Giants.
The Dolphins also released four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes, and finalized a trade to acquire cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso from the Philadelphia Eagles. The teams will swap spots in the first round of the draft, with the Eagles picking eighth and the Dolphins 13th.
There had been speculation the trade might fall through because of an issue with Maxwell's physical. He missed the final two games last season because of a sprained shoulder.
His agent, Alvin Keels, tweeted that the deal was on: "Maxwell cleared by Dolphins staff and ready to roll!"
Miami signed safety Isa Abdul-Quddus to a $12.75 million, three-year contract. Abdul-Quddus, a five-year veteran who started 12 games for Detroit over the past two seasons, is expected to start at safety alongside Pro Bowler Reshad Jones.
Backup tackle Sam Young signed a $910,000, one-year deal with Miami, his fourth team.
The Dolphins remain in the market for a cornerback, defensive end, guard and running back.
Vernon's departure makes it more likely Miami will retain defensive end Cameron Wake, who is 34 and recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. Wake would be paired with Williams, who signed Tuesday, a week after being released by the Buffalo Bills.
Williams had planned to visit with four or five teams, but said 75-year-old Dolphins owner Stephen Ross sold him on coming to Miami.
"Meeting with the owner, it was really shocking to me," Williams said. "I've never ever been in the room with an NFL owner and it was like talking to somebody who is 30 years old. He was cool to interview with. To be part of something with someone who has so much enthusiasm, so much energy and passion toward the team, and then it trickles straight down to the last guy, the outlook is definitely determined."
The Dolphins haven't been to the playoffs since 2008 and went 6-10 last season.
Williams had a rough 2015, too. The four-time Pro Bowl end and first overall pick in the 2006 draft totaled only five sacks under new Bills coach Rex Ryan, and at times Williams complained about his role and seemed disinterested.
"You have bumpy roads," said Williams 31. "We all do. There's nobody that can go out there and have a smooth path that is perfect. But I can honestly say that road is still going. We haven't hit the end in the road, and that's what gives me so much excitement."
By cutting Grimes, Miami saved $6.5 million in cap space. He became expendable because of a decline in his play last season and issues involving his wife, who was arrested at the stadium before a game and criticized Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill on Twitter.
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