The Miami Dolphins are close to signing defensive end/outside linebacker Mario Williams, according to multiple reports. Pro Football Talk is reporting a deal could happen on Tuesday, and Jason Cole is reporting a deal could be worth $8 million per year. Williams was released by the Bills, so he does not have to wait for the 1 p.m. PT Wednesday start time of free agency signings.
If Williams signs with the Dolphins, that opens the door for at least one pass rusher to potentially hit the market. The team placed the transition tag on Olivier Vernon, which means if a team gives him an offer sheet and the Dolphins don't match, the team does not have to give up any draft pick compensation. The Dolphins also have Cameron Wake playing a similar position to Williams. Wake is entering the final year of his contract, and is due to have a cap hit of $9.8 million. If the Dolphins release Wake, they would save $8.4 million in cap space.
The San Francisco 49ers have a need for help in the pass rush. Just going by listed weight, Vernon and Wake are a little on the heavier side (270+) for the 49ers outside linebacker position. Of course, listed weight is always a bit of an exaggeration, with players often playing under or over the listed weight by a significant amount.
I think one of those two could potentially bring something to the 49ers pass rush. Wake would be more of a short-term deal, while the 49ers would likely have to go pretty big to land Vernon. It sounds like the Dolphins are prepared to let him walk, but there will be plenty of competition for the young pass rusher.