The Miami Dolphins’ search for a third defensive end concluded Wednesday evening when the team agreed to terms with Andre Branch on a one-year guaranteed contract that will pay him as much as $3 million.
Branch visited the team Wednesday and the sides quickly reached a deal.
Branch, 6-5 and 265 pounds, has played his entire four-year career with the Jaguars and is coming off a solid season. He had 24 tackles, four sacks, four passes defended and two forced fumbles in 13 games, including nine starts.
Drafted 38th overall out of Clemson in 2012, Branch started three games as a rookie but none in his second and third seasons, though he appeared in 25 games over those two years. He had six sacks as a backup in 2013 and three in 2014.
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Branch, who has 14 career sacks and five forced fumbles, can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 but is also well equipped to play defensive end in a 4-3, which the Dolphins plan to run.
Branch, 26, missed the first three games last season with a sprained MCL but played in the last 13. He reportedly visited with the Washington Redskins last week.
The Dolphins were searching for a defensive end who could play substantial snaps in a rotation with Cameron Wake, and behind Mario Williams as well. Miami ideally would like to use Wake as a pass-rush specialist, though it’s unclear if that will be the plan going forward. A lot could depend on how well Branch plays.
Branch essentially fills the role held last season by Derrick Shelby, who signed with Atlanta.
Besides Branch, the Dolphins also previously met with Jason Jones and Chris Clemons but ultimately struck a deal with the youngest player of that group.
The Dolphins also have Terrence Fede, Damontre Moore and CFL project Cleyon Laing at defensive end, and Dion Jordan is eligible for reinstatement next month.