After having a breakout 2016 season with the Buffalo Billsin which he attained 149 tackles and 1 interception, free-agent linebacker Zach Brown is in the talks to leave snowy Buffalo for Sunny South Florida to join the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins and Brown are attempting to figure out a deal after a visit in Miami.
The 27-year-old is a former 2012 2nd-round pick of the Tennessee Titans. In the 2012 and 2013 seasons, he accumulated a total of 184 combined tackles, 4 interceptions, and 2 touchdowns. Brown suffered a suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle injury in 2014, but came back in 2015 to make 77 tackles and 2 interceptions.
The linebacker became an unrestricted free agent during the 2016 offseason, and signed a 1-year/$1.25 million contract with the Buffalo Bills. After his success in Buffalo where he played as an interior linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, Brown came to be one of best free-agent linebackers on the market in 2017. Although the Fins play a 4-3 scheme on defense, they obviously thought the former Bill could contribute in fixing a run Defense that was ranked 30th by ESPN.com. He also has the speed to keep up with tight-ends and running-backs in coverage—a strength that goes back to his combine days. He should be a nice fit as an outside linebacker.
Brown would be playing alongside newly acquired veteran Lawrence Timmons and another former Bill’s linebacker—Kiko Alonso.
Linebacker was a huge problem for the Dolphins in 2016, and their defense allowed an average of 140.4 rush yards per game. Thankfully, the Dolphins are now taking the appropriate steps to fix the problem. Miami has not had a linebacker with back-to-back 100 tackle seasons since Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett in 2011 and 2012, and has not finished as a Top 15 run defense since that time. But now the Dolphins are coming into the 2017 season with 3 linebackers who had 100+ tackles the previous year: Kiko Alonso—115, Lawrence Timmons—114, and potentially Zach Brown at 149.
Manysuspected the Dolphins would draft a linebacker in the 1st round of the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. However, that is looking less likely, but for a good reason. Mike Tannenbaum, Chris Grier, and Adam Gase have taken the team’s #1 area of concern and attempted to solidify it within 13 days of NFL Free Agency. Kiko Alonso is tagged with a 1st-round Tender which tells you how much the Dolphins like him. Former Steeler Lawrence Timmons averaged 117.8 tackles per season from 2010-16, and was part of five Top 10 run-defenses during that span. Now, the Fins could have Zach Brown who was a flying force for the Buffalo Bills.
The Miami Dolphins with Brown, could have their Linebacker situation set for the next couple years. Perhaps they will address one of their other major needs in the 1st Round: defensive end, defensive tackle, safety, and guard.