The Dolphins made a decided effort to rebuild with youth, but apparently recognized the need for veteran leadership and dependable help on defense.
A one-year deal to return six-time Pro-Bowler and fan favorite Jason Taylor to Miami is expected to be signed today, for which Taylor agreed to a smaller paycheck in exchange for proximity to his wife and three children. The price, in the neighborhood of $1.1 million plus $400,000 in incentives, is a far cry from his average annual salary of $7 million.
It could be a bargain for the Dolphins if the potential Hall of Famer has as much left in the tank as he claims.
The opportunity surely comes as a relief to Taylor, who expressed a strong desire to come back to South Florida after spending a disappointing year with the Washington Redskins. Following a clash with new football overlord Bill Parcells over his participation on Dancing With The Stars, Taylor was traded to the 'Skins for two draft picks -- seemingly ending an 11-year career with Miami that established him as the face of the franchise and one of the NFL's best pass rushers.
But Taylor struggled with injuries and couldn't find his footing in Washington. After his release at the end of the season, he returned to South Florida where he hoped to rejoin his former team and build on his repaired relationship with Parcells.
Despite General Manger Jeff Ireland's admission that Miami is "always looking for pass rushers," Dolphins brass had expressed concerns about Taylor's age and whether or not bringing him back on board would stunt the development of younger players, even at the risk of seeing him end up with hated rivals the Patriots.
As such, it's unclear what Taylor's role will be now that he's found his way back home. The Dolphins are likely not looking to the aging veteran to solve their long-term needs at linebacker, so it's possible Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano are expecting Taylor to help mold up-and-comers on the defensive line.
But no matter what his future holds, there's no doubt Taylor is thrilled to be back in orange and teal, and Miami fans are thrilled to see him back. "My heart has always been in Miami,” Taylor said in a statement. “I’m truly motivated to call myself a Dolphin again."
It's only fitting that a player who gave the franchise so much is given an opportunity to end his career at home.