The Lions announced on Thursday that Spence has been traded to the Dolphins in exchange for an undisclosed 2019 draft pick. The deal came just hours after Spence had agreed to restructure his contract with the Lions. According to ESPN.com, Spence agreed to take a pay cut that knocked his 2018 salary from $3.15 million down to $2.575 million.
Spence agreed to the pay cut despite the fact that he just finished arguably the best season of his five-year career. In 2017, the 26-year-old played in all 16 games for the Lions, including 11 starts. During his time on the field, Spence racked up 39 tackles, three sacks and also forced a fumble.
The reason the trade is somewhat surprising is because Spence just signed with the Lions last offseason. In March 2017, the defensive tackled signed a three-year, $9 million deal. Of course, Jim Caldwell was the coach when Spence signed his deal, and with Caldwell now out, Patricia has clearly decided to move on.
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In Miami, Spence will see at least one familiar face. The defensive line coach for the Dolphins is Kris Kocurek, who served the same role in Detroit last season before leaving after Caldwell got fired. Spence seems pretty excited at the thought of being reunited with his former coach.
"Happy to be back with coach Kris doing what I know how to do best," Spence told ESPN.com on Thursday. "Couldn't ask for a better situation."
Spence also shared his own reaction on Twitter.
I want to thank the Detroit Lions for the opportunity they gave me this past season to be a Lion. Also want to thank my coaches,teammates and the fans it was a great experience. We all know NFL is a business. With that being said happy to be a Miami Dolphin...!!! Gods plan!!!— Akeem spence (@AkeemSpence) May 3, 2018
In Miami, Spence will join a Dolphins defensive line that lost Ndamukong Suh this offseason. Spence will compete for playing time against a Dolphins' defensive line rotation that includes Jordan Phillips, Davon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor and Gabe Wright. The Dolphins defensive line also consists of Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn on the ends.
For Spence, the trade will allow him to return to the state where he started his NFL career. Before signing with the Lions in 2017, Spence spent the first four seasons of his career in Tampa Bay after the Buccaneers made him a fourth round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.