Jason Taylor is expected to rejoin the Dolphins as early as today.
I have confirmed that Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland and agent Gary Wichard have been negotiating since early, early this morning and the sides are very, very close to announcing a deal. The deal is a one-year contract.
In negotiating this reunion of the team's All-Time sack leader and the club that drafted him in 1997, Taylor snubbed overtures from a handful of clubs, not the least of which was New England.
Taylor's contract is very salary cap friendly. He walked away from an $8.5 million base salary in Washington and told the Dolphins he would play for whatever they wanted to pay him. It is unclear exactly what they will be paying him. The Associated Press is now reporting Taylor will make $1.5 million.
That doesn't seem to matter much to Taylor. He wanted to return to South Florida and the Dolphins because this is his home. He wanted to finish work and go home to his family. He wanted to sleep in his own bed every night. He didn't want to spend another season in a distant NFL outpost while his family stayed in South Florida -- that was his situation last year after he was traded to Washington.
In signing Taylor, the Dolphins add the kind of quarterback pressure they lacked outside of Joey Porter last season. Taylor, 35 in September, has 120.5 career sacks. Although he managed only 3.5 sacks last year, his lowest total since 1999, there were extenuating circumstances for that.
Taylor was injured much of the year, asked to play out of position, and asked to gain weight in Washington. In Miami he will be used as a pass-rusher in the team's nickel and dime packages and is expected to compete for a starting job at one of the outside linebacker jobs.
It is unclear how exactly the Dolphins will manage to get both Taylor and Porter on the field and comfortable at the same time in their base defense -- an issue that went unresolved when they last played together in 2007.
Taylor, a source tells me, never intended to play for any other team but Miami. "Miami is the only place I'm going to play," Taylor told friends and family after gaining his release from Washington.
After he basically forced his way off the Redskins by refusing to accept new contract language in a restructured deal, Taylor told Wichard he wanted to be in Miami.
Wichard met with Washington owner Daniel Snyder at Joe's Stone Crab and informed the Redskins of Taylor's intentions to depart Washington. Taylor also had Wichard turn down at least two movie opportunities so that he could spend the offseason training and the regular-season, well, playing.
Taylor has been in constant contact with coach Tony Sparano as the two have texted messages back and forth for some time. Sparano went so far as giving Taylor the basics of the Dolphins offseason workout program in hopes Taylor would follow its parameters on his own.
Taylor hired a personal trainer and has been doing the Dolphins program. Taylor will join the program as soon as he signs.
The addition for the Dolphins is a loss for the New England Patriots. Owner Robert Kraft actively recruited Taylor in the press. Coach Bill Belichick called Taylor and Wichard, his agent. The overtures were never rebuffed but at no point did Taylor or Wichard talk contract or salary with the Patriots. There was never a handshake agreement between the sides as has previously been reported by Boston-area media outlets.
The Dolphins and Wichard are ironing out details in the contract as we speak but there should be a deal signed by the end of the day, according to a source.