Miami Dolphins: T.J. McDonald Signing Brilliant For Defense

Though he’s suspended for the first eight games in 2017, the Miami Dolphins signing T.J. McDonald was a brilliant move

The Miami Dolphins signed now former Los Angeles Rams safety T.J. McDonald to a one-year deal. The signing came just one day after it was announced McDonald would be suspended eight games stemming from a reckless driving arrest he plead guilty to in which he struck a parked car while under the influence.

Signing McDonald was an outstanding move by the Dolphins front office. This is a front office that continues to earn faith and praise over the past few seasons after a decade of disasters. Much in part due to brilliant moves like this one. Despite the lengthy suspension, this could prove to be a key move if Miami manages to make another playoff run.

This is the kind of pickup that could give them that push to advance past the Wildcard of Divisional Rounds in 2017. The suspension actually makes this a no-risk move for the Dolphins. It’s not often you can add a Pro Bowl caliber safety next to your All-Pro level safety for just $775,000 and a $615,000 cap hit.

With this move, Nate Allen and Michael Thomas can fill the starting job for the first half of the season and McDonald can be injected midway through perhaps even reenergizing the defense giving them a big boost in November. He should be able to hit his stride down the stretch leading into the playoffs. My only grievance with this move is that the front office didn’t work in a second-year team option for the 26-year-old.

It’s also not out of the realm of possibilities that this suspension could be reduced. Many experts predicted this would be a four-game suspension and some even believed two games was a possibility. This would only make this pickup more outstanding. Take away the suspension looming over him, McDonald would have been one of the most coveted free agents on the market and he will fill the team’s most glaring hole.

The former third-round pick out of USC has shown flashes of brilliance during his time in the NFL. In 2014 he tallied 105 tackles and two sacks. He followed that up with 63 tackles in just 11 games and a bit of down year last season. Nevertheless, he still led the Rams secondary in snaps, playing 1,069 defensive plays. With the Rams becoming a mess as the season wore on he still managed to pile up 64 tackles, a sack and two interceptions.

This may be the greatest bargain of any signing this offseason. If they can weather the storm without him early, he could be huge contributor for a deep playoff run. This deal will be especially relevant if it leads to them locking him up on a long-term deal following the 2017 season. McDonald and Reshad Jones could become one of the top safety duos in the league.

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