The Miami Dolphins made an under-the-radar signing on Thursday, agreeing to terms with former Vikings safety, Tyrell Johnson. Johnson was a 2nd round pick of the Vikings in 2008 and adds depth to the safety position. It’s likely Johnson will come in and compete for either the starting strong or free safety spot with the Dolphins. The Dolphins created a need for a safety when they cut Yeramiah Bell a week into free agency. Sources tell the Miami Herald and Sun Sentinel that Johnson’s signing does not rule out the possibility of bringing Bell back.
Obviously, Johnson did not live up to his draft value with the Vikings. Johnson started 7 games as a rookie and 15 games in 2010. He started just 5 over the last two years and has a total of 2 interceptions in his career. However, a fresh start with the Dolphins could help. The Dolphins will be running a new defense this year, although it will resemble the one they ran the last few years. From what we hear, the free safety and strong safety positions will be interchangeable. New Dolphins defensive coordinator, Kevin Coyle has worked magic with safety’s in the past. He made former Dolphins Chris Crocker and Gebril Wilson into solid starters with the Bengals. So we’ll see.
The Dolphins also intend to bring in free agent linebackers Quentin Groves and Gary Guyton. It’s clear that the Dolphins plan this offseason is to retool the defense through free agency and rebuild the offense through the draft. The Dolphins still need to identify a pass rusher this offseason to play opposite Cameron Wake. They could do that in the draft at #8 by selecting Melvin Ingram or Quinton Coples. They could also look to the second round and a player like Nick Perry.
As for the offense, the Dolphins probably hope to come out of the draft with a QB to develop, a wide receiver or 2, an offensive tackle, and possibly a tight end. Jeff Ireland will need to hit on the picks he has in this year’s draft because the Dolphins have a lot of needs to fill before September. For now though, they’ll continue to bring in players that fit their system and continue to add value to the roster.