Barry Jackson

Where Dolphins stand in defensive end search after trading Quinn to Dallas

Miami Dolphins players talk about Robert Quinn and his bend

Miami Dolphins Laremy Tunsil and MarQueis Gray talk about teammate Robert Quinn and his bend.
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Miami Dolphins Laremy Tunsil and MarQueis Gray talk about teammate Robert Quinn and his bend.

The Dolphins shipped out another veteran on Thursday, trading defensive end Robert Quinn to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Quinn’s Dolphins contract, which was to have paid him $11.8 million this season, is being replaced by a new one-year, $8 million contract with Dallas.

Miami will shed Quinn’s salary off its salary cap; the Dolphins reportedly will not pay any of the salary he’s owed next season.

Coupled with the departure of Cameron Wake to Tennessee and the release of Andre Branch, Quinn’s departure leaves Miami with just four defensive ends with NFL experience on its roster, and just two with considerable experience.

Those four are Charles Harris (who has three sacks in 27 NFL games), journeyman Tank Carradine (who was added in January and has eight NFL starts and 5.5 sacks over six seasons), Jonathan Woodward (who had a sack and 10 tackles in six games for Miami last season) and Jeremiah Valoaga (five tackles and a sack in nine NFL games, all for Detroit in 2017).

Quinn was a mild disappointment in his one season with the Dolphins, finishing with 6.5 sacks and struggling at times to set the edge in the running game. But Pro Football Focus rated him 38th among 103 qualifying defensive ends last season.

The Dolphins, who had no intention of keeping Quinn, granted him permission to visit the Cowboys and Saints in recent days. He met with Dallas officials last week, including owner Jerry Jones.

The Dolphins are intent on adding multiple defensive ends — some of whom can play 3-4 outside linebacker — in the draft process.

According to a source, the Dolphins sent defensive line coach Marion Hobby to give a private workout to Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson and he’s among a half dozen skilled first- and second-round caliber pass rushers being given serious consideration by the Dolphins.

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Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson (45) sacks Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro (12) in the first half of the Hawaii Bowl NCAA college football game, in Honolulu. Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson and Colorado State wide receiver Preston Williams have already completed their work in Indianapolis. They didn’t lift weights, didn’t get clocked in the 40-yard dash, didn’t even appear on the NFL telecast. Instead, they took medical tests and tried explaining to team officials why they couldn’t work out with everyone else at the league’s annual scouting combine. Eugene Tanner AP

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah rates him 42nd among all draft prospects.

“Ferguson has ideal size, length, power and production,” Jeremiah said. “He has experience standing up on the edge, as well as putting his hand on the ground. In the passing game, he is a pure power rusher. He should be a Day 1 starter in the NFL.”

Ferguson, who’s 6-5 and 262 pounds, had 17.5 sacks, 26 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in a highly impactful senior season. His 45 career sacks are the most in college football since 2005 and his 68 tackles for loss are the third-most.

Ferguson would be an appealing option if he’s available when Miami picks 48th, or potentially if the Dolphins trade for a pick in the 30s or early 40s.

As the Miami Herald has first reported, the Dolphins have scheduled visits at their team headquarters with TCU’s T.J. Collier and Old Dominion edge rusher Oshane Ximines, who are both second-round possibilities.

They also have interest in Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell, a potential first-round option at No. 13 or in a slight trade down, and have closely studied FSU’s Brian Burns, who’s also expected to fall in Miami’s first round range.

What’s more, Dolphins senior personnel advisor Reggie McKenzie met this week with Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat, who had 11.5 sacks last season. But he might not be available at No. 13; ESPN’s Mel Kiper has him going eighth.

THIS AND THAT

Dolphins free agent running back Sinorise Perry joined the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, meaning more of Miami’s 2018 running backs are now playing for other AFC East teams than for Miami.

Perry joins Frank Gore in Buffalo, and Brandon Bolden left the Dolphins to re-join the Patriots. The Dolphins have retained Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage.

Perry didn’t have a carry for Miami last season but was a key contributor on special teams, appearing in all 16 games.

With no guaranteed money due guard/center Chris Reed in the second year of his deal, Miami continues its habit of signing free agents either to one-year deals or two-year deals with little or no guarantees in year two. Ryan Fitzpatrick is Miami’s only free agent pickup with guaranteed money in 2020 (at $1.5 million, with $4 million non-guaranteed).

Add FSU defensive tackle Frederick Jones and UF defensive lineman Khairi Clark to the list of players auditioning for the Dolphins on April 5, when players who attended high schools or colleges in South Florida are permitted to work out for Miami at their headquarters. The Dolphins also are looking closely at UCF defensive tackle Tysten Hill, a potential second-day pick.

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Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.


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