Because of issues with Typepad, we're posting all of our free agency items from the past 16 hours here, in this post:
Noon update: The Dolphins have made defensive end a priority and they’re pursuing two players who they believe will immediately upgrade the unit: Mario Williams and William Hayes. [UPDATE: WILLIAMS AGREED TO A TWO-YEAR, $16 MILLION CONTRACT THIS AFTERNOON.]
There is a strong market for Hayes, and Williams won't be cheap, so it remains to be seen if Miami can afford both.
### ESPN's Adam Schefter reported today that the Dolphins "continue to look like the team to beat for Mario Williams. They're talking.... to see if they can get a deal worked out."
Pro Football Talk reports a deal could be done with Williams today.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins also have expressed strong interest in Hayes, who has multiple suitors. Hayes had 53 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles last season and was rated fifth against the run among all defensive ends by Pro Football Focus for 2015. Hayes, 30, played in 16 games and started 11.
The timetable for a decision from Williams might be sooner than that for Hayes, since Williams is allowed to take visits already. Hayes can’t take visits until Wednesday evening.
If the Dolphins sign Williams and Hayes, it would likely mean the departure of Olivier Vernon or Cam Wake.
### Schefter reports that “it’s increasingly unlikely Lamar Miller returns to Miami.” Houston reportedly has strong interest, but as of late morning, the Dolphins had not been told they’re out of it.
One person in contact with the Dolphins said he was led to believe Miller wants an annual salary in the range of $6 million or more --- more than Miami prefers to offer.
9 a.m. update:
Determined to upgrade at guard, the Dolphins are in conversations with a few veterans, including 49ers free agent Alex Boone.
Boone would be a significant upgrade over either Dallas Thomas or Billy Turner, based on career resume and 2015 performance.
Pro Football Focus rated him the 33rd among 81 guards last season. Turner was 69th and Thomas 81st.
The 6-8 Boone played for new Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster in San Francisco last season, and they have a good relationship.
Boone has played all six years of his career with San Francisco, including the past four as a starter at guard. He started 13 games last season before missing the final three with a knee injury that wasn't considered major. He is a two-time Pro Bowl alternate.
He also can played tackle and shifted there in 2012 to become a starter at guard.
Boone has several suitors, with Arizona reportedly among others who have shown interest.
The Dolphins also have reached out to Seahawks veteran guard JR Sweezy and had a preliminary conversation expressing some interest in Geoff Schwartz. Other guard options include Jeff Allen, Ramon Foster, Brandon Brooks, Zane Beadles, Jahri Evans, Michael Harris and Chris Chester.
### Per Fox's Alex Marvez, Jordan Cameron's pay cut ended up being $1.5 million --- from $7.5 million to $6 million. The team wanted the additional cap space.
8 p.m. update: After agreeing on a deal to bring Byron Maxwell to Miami, the Dolphins aren't close to being done at cornerback. The Dolphins are among teams in the mix for Bengals free agent cornerback Pacman Jones, a source with knowledge of the discussions said today.
Businessman and former rapper Luther Campbell, the defensive coordinator at Miami Jackson High, tweeted that Jones "will be coming to Miami Dolphins." The source declined to go that far but said Miami certainly has a chance to land him.
As we noted in January, we expected the Dolphins to be interested in Jones because he excelled playing under new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph the past two years, with Joseph serving as the Bengals' defensive backs coach.
But the Dolphins have competition; the Ravens, Browns, Raiders, Cowboys and Vikings also reportedly have interest. And Cincinnati wants to keep him.
Jones, 32, was rated the 15th best cornerback by Pro Football Focus last season (among 111 qualifiers) and 13th in coverage.
He had three picks, 62 tackles and a sack in 14 appearances, all starts. Jones has three interceptions each of the last three years.
Pro Football Focus rates him the third best cornerback in free agency, behind Kansas City's Sean Smith and Green Bay's Casey Heyward.
Here's what PFW said: "Jones has been a solid player in the Bengals’ secondary since signing with the team in 2011. He has never finished with a below-average coverage grade in the PFF-era. He’s coming off his second-highest coverage grade over that time, and allowed a passer rating of 60.0 when targeted by opposing quarterbacks. One weakness for Jones, though, is his propensity for missed tackles, with 35 over the last three seasons. Jones turns 33 years old in September, and would really only be a short-term solution, but he could certainly help tighten up a secondary as an outside corner."
The Dolphins have made preliminary inquiries on other cornerbacks, including Patrick Robinson.
If Jones signs, he would join Maxwell as likely starters. Another corner also would be added, with UF's Vernon Hargreaves in the mix for Miami's pick at No. 8. The Dolphins also plan to develop Tony Lippett and Bobby McCain, and Jamar Taylor remains under contract.