Free-agent linebacker D'Qwell Jackson signed a $22 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday. The Miami Dolphins were one of several teams interested in Jackson and hosted him for a visit.
Although Miami didn’t get Jackson, his visit was telling. It says the Dolphins and new general manager Dennis Hickey are not happy with the current linebacking group. Linebackers Philip Wheeler, Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe did not perform up to expectations in 2014. Miami was 24th against the run and struggled at times in pass coverage against tight ends and slot receivers.
What does this mean for Miami’s linebackers going forward? It means they are under the microscope.
Linebacker is not a primary need. But it’s clear Hickey will look to make an upgrade or add depth when an opportunity arises. There could be another starter cut or released this offseason who could compete, particularly with Misi or Wheeler.
But without Jackson in the fold, Miami will stay with its current trio. This much we know: Wheeler, Misi and Ellerbe must perform better in 2014.