The pieces are beginning to come together for the 2015 Dolphins.
Two more big ones fell into place Friday, when the Dolphins re-signed Louis Delmas and Matt Moore.
Delmas, the veteran safety who was highly effective before sustaining a season-ending knee injury last year, signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Moore, meanwhile, will be back for a fifth season in Miami — and his fourth as Ryan Tannehill’s backup. The signing came just one day after the team hosted Tarvaris Jackson, who would have likely taken Moore’s job had the Dolphins signed him.
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Moore wanted to return all along; it was simply a matter of finding a number that was amenable to both sides. The deal is also for one year.
Also Friday, the Dolphins re-signed running back LaMichael James, the former Oregon star running back who appeared in two games for Miami a year ago. The team could consider James as a kick returner in 2015, particularly since wide receiver Jarvis Landry is expected to be given a larger role on offense with Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson gone.
But the big news of the day was Delmas, who sustained a torn ACL in his right knee three months ago. The team believed his rehab is far along enough to bring him back for a second season in Miami.
“The knee is great,” Delmas said. “I definitely know that I’ll be ready for the first game of the season.”
Delmas recorded 61 tackles and an interception in 13 games last year. The Dolphins’ defense fell off considerably after he got injured, allowing 113 points in the final three games.
“It definitely [ticked] me of a little bit,” Delmas said. “I feel like I left plays out there, that I let my teammates down.”
Delmas will again pair with Reshad Jones at safety on an otherwise revamped defense. And he will again team up with Ndamukong Suh, his teammate in Detroit for four seasons.
“A lot of havoc,” Delmas said of Suh’s impact. “It’s definitely going to be fun. He’s one guy that can run a whole defense by himself. ... He’s a vicious player when he gets to the ball. I’m definitely excited to be reunited with him.”
“It’s a new year, a new look, and a new defense.”
Moore had his choice of teams but ultimately decided to remain in Miami because it was the best fit for him and his family. Because of Tannehill’s good injury fortune, Moore has thrown just 29 total passes in the past three years.
Also Friday, the Dolphins introduced new offensive lineman J.D. Walton, who said he chose Miami after the organization made a strong push for him.
Walton was coy about where exactly he expects to line up. Center is his customary position, but Mike Pouncey is expect to move back there after playing guard in 2014.
So if Walton has hopes of starting, it will almost certainly have to be at guard. Billy Turner is expected to start at one of the guard spots this fall.
“I’m coming to compete,” Walton said. “Wherever they want to try me at, it doesn’t really matter. ... I come with the mind-set, get ready to play center, get ready to play guard.”
As for the other free agent to visit this week, former 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, as of late Friday he had yet to decide on a team.
DOLPHINS’ OFFSEASON MOVES
A look at the Dolphins’ recent key transactions:
Key new additions: DT Ndamukong Suh, TE Jordan Cameron, CB Brice McCain, WR Kenny Stills, OL J.D. Walton.
Key departures: WR Mike Wallace, WR Brandon Gibson, WR Brian Hartline, TE Charles Clay, DT Jared Odrick, CB Cortland Finnegan, DT Randy Starks, OL Shelley Smith, DB Jimmy Wilson, OL Nate Garner, LB Philip Wheeler.
Who’s returning: S Louis Delmas, QB Matt Moore, P Brandon Fields, LB Kelvin Sheppard, S Michael Thomas, DE Derrick Shelby, RB LaMichael James.
Key decisions awaiting: RB Daniel Thomas, WR Michael Crabtree.