Shaq Lawson, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, will reportedly sign a three-year, $30 million deal with the Dolphins when free agency officially opens on Wednesday. The news broke of Lawson's reported deal on Monday, several hours after teams could begin speaking with soon-to-be free agents.
The 19th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Lawson enjoyed a career year in 2019, with 6.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. His play helped the Bills quality for the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Lawson also helped Buffalo's defense finish second in the league in scoring, fourth in passing yards allowed and seventh in third down efficiency. In 50 regular season games with the Bills, Lawson, who started 17 games over that span, tallied 16.5 sacks, 108 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles.
Lawson will reportedly be joining a Dolphins defense that finished last in the NFL in points allowed last season. The Dolphins also finished 26th in passing yards allowed, 27th rushing yards allowed, 24th in third down efficiency and 27th in red zone efficiency. But after a horrific start, the Dolphins' defense did start to come together during the second half of the season under first-year head coach Brian Flores. Following their 0-7 start, Miami's defense held their next two opponents to under 20 points while helping the Dolphins record their first two victories of the season. The Dolphins' defense also played well during their Week 17 win in New England over the Patriots, forcing a pair of turnovers while holding Tom Brady to just 217 net yards passing.
Along with about $82 million in cap space, the Dolphins are also armed with 14 picks in the 2020 draft that includes three picks in the first round. And despite last season's 5-11 record, Miami, with Brady's uncertain future and with the Jets coming off yet another losing season, could be in contention to win their first AFC East title in over a dozen years this upcoming season.