Williams was released by the Dolphins on Thursday, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports.
Considering Williams' poor 2016 season, during which he recorded only 1.5 sacks and was eventually replaced as a starter by Andre Branch, it is not surprising to see him get the axe. He would have been owed $10.5 million against the cap in 2017, of which the Dolphins save $8.5 million by releasing him. With Williams gone, Branch could yet again be called upon to start on the Dolphins' defensive line.
Williams is a potential salary-cap cut this offseason, ESPN reports.
The Dolphins signed Williams to a two-year, $17 million contract last spring in order to replace the pass-rushing prowess Olivier Vernon (Giants) provided. However, Williams logged a career-low 1.5 sacks during his first season in Miami, a disappointing total considering he averaged 10.7 sacks per season over the last four years. Now due $8.5 million in 2017, Williams is a candidate to be cut this offseason in order to free up cap space.
Williams has been dealing with an ankle injury for weeks, playing through the injury often before sitting out Week 17. The time off likely gave the struggling veteran time to heal. Fully healthy in time for the playoffs, he'll look to play better than he did in the regular season, where he registered just 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
The Williams experiment didn't work out as planned for the Dolphins this season, as the veteran defensive lineman lost his starting job midway through the season due to a lack of production. In 13 games, he has only registered 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one pass deflection. Furthermore, Williams is the sixth-highest paid player on the team and would make over $8.4 million next season. He is expected to be waived before the fifth day of the 2017 season, because if he remains on the roster any longer he will be guaranteed $3.5 million for next year.
Williams (ankle) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Patriots.
Williams' health won't be tested in Week 17 with the playoffs looming, so Jason Jones and Andre Branch figure to see expanded roles at defensive end.
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