Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins trade for Rams defensive end Robert Quinn

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) is chased by Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) during a game Sept. 25, 2016.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) is chased by Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) during a game Sept. 25, 2016. AP

The Miami Dolphins defense improved Friday.

The Dolphins are acquiring proven defensive end Robert Quinn from the Los Angeles Rams, the Miami Herald has confirmed. The trade will be completed March 14 at the start of the new league year.

The Dolphins will give up a mid-round draft pick, possibly a fourth-rounder, and the teams are also expected to exchange late-round draft slots. ESPN was the first to report the news.

Quinn, 27, is expected to immediately be a Dolphins starter although there will be a competition at defensive end that will include second-year player Charles Harris, and veterans Cam Wake and Andre Branch.

Quinn certainly will be paid like a starter. He will cost the Dolphins $11.4 million in cap space. The fact the Dolphins enjoy significant cap flexibility even when their actual numbers for 2018 currently suggest very little cap space helped make this acquisition possible for Miami.

One reason the Rams were forced to jettison Quinn is because they have numerous free agents they believe they must pay and thus could no longer afford Quinn.

Quinn, the 14th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, played his first seven seasons with the Rams and has recorded 218 tackles, 62.5 sacks, 20 forced fumbles and 17 defended passes over 95 games (76 starts). He had 8.5 sacks in 15 games in 2017.

Quinn signed a six-year contract extension in September 2014 following a 2013 season in which he finished second in the league with 19 sacks and forced seven fumbles en route to being named the Defensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers Association and a consensus first-team All-Pro.

It is likely Quinn and the Dolphins will address an extension that will carry the player beyond the end of his current deal, which is slated to expire after 2019.

Quinn, 6-4 and 250 pounds, goes a long way toward alleviating Miami’s need at defensive end. Yes, the Dolphins have Wake as their stalwart and Harris as a promising rookie but most teams nowadays really need three solid pass rushers to succeed.

The Dolphins now have two in Quinn and Wake with the promise that Harris might blossom and Branch might recover well from a 2017 season in which he was often injured.

Head coach Adam Gase said Wednesday he anticipated Harris will compete for a starting job next season after having “a pretty good” rookie season.

The Dolphins defense finished tied for 26th in the league with 30 sacks last season.

The Dolphins are starting to be known as the Rams east. Last season, they traded for Rams defensive end William Hayes and signed safety T.J. McDonald as a free agent.

Quinn is slated to join McDonald on the starting unit if things go according to Miami’s plans.