The Dolphins eliminated one need from their list within the past hour when they agreed on a one-year deal with defensive end Andre Branch, according to a source.
Branch visited the team on Wednesday and the sides quickly agreed to terms. The deal is fully guaranteed and is worth up to $3 million.
Branch, 6-5 and 265 pounds, has played his entire four-year career with the Jaguars and is coming off a solid season. He had 24 tackles, four sacks, four passes defended and two forced fumbles in 13 games, including nine starts.
Drafted 38th overall out of Clemson in 2012, Branch started three games as a rookie but none in his second and third seasons, though he appeared in 25 games over those two years. He had six sacks as a backup in 2013 and three in 2014.
Branch, who has 14 career sacks and five forced fumbles, can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 but is also well equipped to play defensive end in a 4-3, which the Dolphins plan to run.
Branch, 26, missed the first three games last season with a sprained MCL but played in the last 13. He reportedly visited with the Washington Redskins last week.
The Dolphins were searching for a defensive end who could play substantial snaps in a rotation with Cameron Wake, and behind Mario Williams as well.
As we reported last month, the Dolphins ideally would like to use Wake as a pass-rush specialist, though it’s unclear if that will be the plan going forward. A lot could depend on how well Branch plays.
Branch plays the run well, which means he should see a lot of snaps in base defense.
Branch essentially fills the role held by Derrick Shelby, who signed a four-year, $21 million deal with Atlanta.
Besides Branch, the Dolphins also previously met with defensive ends Jason Jones and Chris Clemons but ultimately struck a deal with the youngest player of that group.
The Dolphins also have Damontre Moore, Terrence Fede and CFL project Cleyon Laing at defensive end, among others. And Dion Jordan is eligible for reinstatement next month
Eric Reed, who co-hosts 790 The Ticket’s 1 to 3 p.m. talk show with Leroy Hoard, resigned today, citing family reasons. (Reed is not to be confused with Heat TV announcer Eric Reid, who is an entirely different person.)
“It’s really very simple,” Reed said via text message. “After eight years, it just seemed like the time was right for me to move on. I enjoyed my time at 790 and wouldn’t changed anything. I made the decision to get out of my contract to spend time with my family before I begin my next venture.”
If I were running The Ticket, I would replace Reed with capable evening host Josh Friedman (who warrants the higher-profile slot) and pair him with NBC 6's Adam Kuperstein or WPLG's Will Manso, if either is available to do a midafternoon show.
At night, I would pair Greg Likens (who’s losing his WINZ Dolphins job, with the team discontinuing Finsiders) and Brian "The Beast" London (the station’s most knowledgeable person on Hurricanes matters).
Just my two cents.