Two reasons to believe Lawrence Timmons’ days with the Dolphins are numbered, based on Tuesday’s moves:
▪ The organization suspended the veteran linebacker indefinitely just days after he bailed on the team.
▪ And hours later, they traded an undisclosed 2018 draft pick to the Saints for linebacker Stephone Anthony, a former first-round pick. NFL Network reported it was a fifth-round pick.
Anthony, in just his third year in the league, saw his role reduced in New Orleans the last two years after starting all 16 games as a rookie. The Clemson product was a member of the PFWA all-rookie team, but hasn’t played at all in 2017 due to a high-ankle sprain.
Timmons, meanwhile, wanted to return to the the team, sources said earlier this week, but the Dolphins made clear Tuesday they want him to stay away from the organization — at least for now.
Timmons can be suspended by the team for a maximum of four games for conducted detrimental to the team, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It is believed the suspension voids some if not all of the $4.5 million Timmons was guaranteed in 2018. Multiple efforts to reach the players’ union on this matter were unsuccessful.
Adam Gase has proven to be a no-nonsense coach in his two seasons in Miami. He left Jay Ajayi home for the 2016 opener because Ajayi went into a funk after losing the starting job to Arian Foster. And he benched defensive back Walt Aikens for a game after arriving late to a team meeting last October.
Gase answered tersely when asked about Timmons’ situation Monday, making no promises that Timmons would be welcomed back to the team.
When asked what rules he asks his players to follow, Gase responded: “Be on time and play hard. I don’t know if that’s real hard.”
As for what his tolerance level is for those who break them?
“What do you think? They’ve got two rules. It’s not hard.”
Timmons’ suspension does not necessarily mean his time with the Dolphins is over before it truly begins. Instead, it gives the team up to a month to decide how to proceed, and lets the Dolphins use his roster spot on Anthony in the interim.
If the Dolphins want to add depth beyond Anthony, there are a number of available veteran linebackers, including ex-Dolphins Jelani Jenkins, Neville Hewitt and Kelvin Sheppard. Jenkins, who started 34 games for the Dolphins from 2013-2016, was cut by the Bills Tuesday.
ESPN reported that the Dolphins worked out another candidate Tuesday: Zaviar Gooden, a former third-round pick who has appeared in 32 career games.
Chase Allen, a rookie free agent, started in Timmons’ absence Sunday. Mike Hull, who was expected to only see the field for a fraction of Miami’s defense plays against the Chargers, didn’t miss a snap with him gone. Plus Rey Maualuga might be available after missing the opener due to a hamstring injury.
The Dolphins’ latest saga began late Saturday, when officials could not locate Timmons at curfew. Police later located him at Los Angeles aiport, trying to board a flight to Pennsylvania, according to TMZ. Based on reports, he urgently wanted to see his baby and the child’s mother. The Dolphins filed a missing persons report with multiple jurisdictions when they discovered him gone.
Timmons is in the first year of a two-year, $12 million contract, and was expected not only to be a significant contributor to the defense, but a team leader.
Dolphins players said Monday that Timmons would be welcomed back into the locker room. That decision, however, is not ultimately theirs to make.