NFL free agency begins next week, and the Miami Dolphins have one of the top players on the market.
Starting defensive end and 2015 sack leader Olivier Vernon was given the transition tag for $12.7 million, but that allows other teams to negotiate long-term deals. The Dolphins also have the right to match the highest offer.
So which teams are threats to signing Vernon next week? Here are three potential suitors:
No. 1: Jacksonville Jaguars
You can almost peg the Jaguars for every big-name free agent. Coming off a 5-11 season, they have the most cap room of any team and a lot of needs. An outside-pass rusher is one of those needs that Vernon can fill. Jacksonville has a history of looking to Miami to poach defensive linemen. Last year the team signed former Dolphins defensive tackle Jared Odrick. Vernon is a south Florida native who wouldn’t have to leave the state under this scenario.
No. 2: New York Giants
The Giants were ranked 30th in sacks last season with 23. Their pass defense was last in the NFL, partially because they couldn’t pressure the quarterback. Add in the fact that their best pass-rusher, Jason Pierre-Paul, is a pending free agent who might not return and you have several reasons why Vernon makes sense for New York.
No. 3: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys went the free-agency route last year to try to find a pass-rusher with Kevin Hardy. It didn’t work, as Hardy caused issues within the team and wasn’t the same productive player he was in the past. Don’t be surprised if Dallas looks to free agency again with Vernon. The Cowboys would like to add a young pass-rusher in his prime to help a struggling defense.