The Dolphins struck gold in 2013 with a veteran cornerback on a one-year deal. Brent Grimes reemerged as a star.
No one’s expecting the same level of production out of newest Dolphin Zack Bowman, another 30-something defensive back who signed a prove-it contract with the team Monday.
But Bowman’s goal is to, at the very least, start alongside Grimes this fall.
“I met with the staff [Monday],” Bowman told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “They told me that there’s an opportunity to be a starter and so I’m looking forward to the opportunity, looking forward to the challenge.”
Bowman will compete with Jamar Taylor, Will Davis (assuming he’s healthy) and possibly a draft pick to be the team’s second starting boundary corner. Brice McCain is likely the team’s nickel corner.
Davis’ availability for the start of the season remains a question mark. He tore his ACL in November; recovery time can range anywhere from six months to a year for that type of injury.
Taylor, meanwhile, is the front-runner for the starting job in his third NFL season. The Dolphins have also shown interest in Michigan State’s Trae Waynes, LSU’s Jalen Collins, Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson — all options with the 14th overall draft pick.
Bowman did start 12 games for the Bears in 2009 but just 16 since.
“It’s all about timing,” Bowman explained. “I’ve always been a role player. When I had an opportunity to start, I’ve always made the best of the opportunity.”
Bowman is more likely to be a core special teams player in Miami and a top backup in the secondary. He “loves” playing on the kicking teams; the rating service Pro Football Focus says he was one of the league’s better specialists last year.
His visit to South Florida on Monday was his first of any kind during free agency, although he did have talks with other teams. In Miami, he’s reunited with collegiate teammate Ndamukong Suh, who signed the biggest contract for a defensive player in league history last month.
“He’s the best D-lineman in the league,” said Bowman, who played with Suh at Nebraska. “His attitude and his mental approach to the game is unbelievable. It’s going to be a big carryover to the linebackers and an even bigger carryover to the secondary, allowing us to make plays.”