Patriots’ free agent All-Pro punter visiting with Dolphins; Miami still looking for another linebacker?
The Miami Dolphins are bringing in New England Patriots punter Jake Bailey for a visit, according to a report from ESPN.
Bailey had an All-Pro and Pro Bowl season in 2020 and is considered among the league’s best. Miami could be moving on from veteran punter Thomas Morstead, who is a free agent after punting for the Dolphins in 2022.
Bailey has a 45.9 yards-per-punt average in his career with 45.9 percent of his boots landing inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
He signed a four-year contract for $13.5 million with the Patriots last offseason, but while on injured reserve, he was placed on the suspended list late last season, voiding his guarantees. Bailey’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, filed a grievance contesting the suspension.
“While Jake Bailey was on IR, he never missed a single treatment, meeting or practice,” Hendrickson said in a statement released at the time. “He was hoping to come off IR to play last weekend, but Jake was informed he was being suspended these last two games. This comes as a surprise given his full participation during injury reserve. We have filed a grievance to fight this unknown suspension.”
Before the suspension, Bailey was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 19 with a back ailment.
Morstead, in an otherwise disappointing special teams unit for the Dolphins in 2022 that returns coordinator Danny Crossman, stood out with 28 punts landing inside the 20-yard line in 2022, the second-highest total of his career. Morstead turned 37 on March 8.
The Patriots landed former Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki in free agency earlier Friday.
Not done at LB?
With former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush Jr. headed to the Seattle Seahawks, a league source told the South Florida Sun Sentinel the Dolphins were in communication with Bush and offered him less than Seattle.
It’s an indication Miami is still looking for a linebacker this offseason after reaching deals with David Long of the Tennessee Titans and Duke Riley, who is returning to the Dolphins. The source said the offer came after agreements with Long and Riley.
Bobby Wagner, an eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro who was teammates with new Dolphins star cornerback Jalen Ramsey last season with the Los Angeles Rams, headlines the list of names still available at linebacker. Lavonte David remained with the Buccaneers, and Eric Kendricks went from the Vikings to the Chargers, among other free agents this cycle.
Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker’s $8.4 million salary for 2023 becomes guaranteed Sunday. If new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio doesn’t see him as a part of the defense and the team adds another linebacker, Miami could opt to move on from him before then.
Bush’s deal with Seattle was for one year and $4 million, according to the source.
This story will be updated.