The Purge in Miami continues. After releasing Ndamukong Suh, Julius Thomas and Lawrence Timmons, and trading away Jarvis Landry, the Dolphins are letting another key player hit free agency. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Miami is cutting three-time Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey:
More changes coming in Miami: Dolphins center Mike Pouncey has requested his released and Miami is expected to grant it today, per source. Moving on from Pouncey, Ndamukong Suh, Jarvis Landry.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2018
Pouncey was the 15th overall pick in the 2011 draft and has started 93 of 112 games for the Dolphins since. Though he has mostly been the team’s center throughout those seven seasons, he did play right guard in the 2014 season and ended up making the Pro Bowl that year, even though his play was described as “inconsistent.”
2017 was a down year for Pouncey, grading in at just 46.5 per PFF, good enough for just 27th among all NFL centers. However, Pouncey was coming off hip surgery that caused him to miss most of the 2016 season and some offseason programs in 2017.
It would make a lot of sense for the Detroit Lions to take a look at Pouncey. At age 28, he could certainly still have a productive four or five years ahead of him. Right now, interior offensive linemen is one of Detroit’s bigger needs, with the team not expected to re-sign starting center Travis Swanson.
Pouncey could come in and immediately be a comfortable starter at center or guard, and help upgrade a Lions offense that is desperate for improved line play. Last year, the Lions finished worst in the league in rushing yards, and 24th in sacks allowed.
It will be interesting to see how much Pouncey will be asking for on the open market. In 2015, he signed a five-year, $44.75 million contract. Already this year, the 49ers signed Weston Richburg to a similar five-year, $47.5 million contract. Pouncey has a more storied career than Richburg, but Richburg is the younger player. Chance are, though, that Pouncey will be seeking a pretty hefty contract.
The Lions still have a significant amount of cap room. Let’s see how they start using it.