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Dolphins sign safety T.J. McDonald to four-year deal

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The Dolphins announced Saturday they’ve signed safety T.J. McDonald to a four-year contract, and the deal is worth $24 million with $10 million guaranteed, according to a source.

McDonald, signed as a free agent from the Los Angeles Rams, is suspended for the first eight games of the season for violating the league’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse relating to a driving incident.

The contract indicates how much the Dolphins like the hulking McDonald, who is listed a 6-foot-2, 223 pounds.

Coach Adam Gase seemed excited about McDonald after one of the practices against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“That’s a big man roaming around at free safety,” he said. “When you’re 6’3 and 220 -- I might be being nice there -- but he’ll come downhill and reacts fast and he has no regard for his body. He has got good ball skills. He knows what to do. [He’s a] smart football player.

“With him back there, guys know that he’s roaming around. It’s a little different for him, because last year...he was almost playing linebacker last year. To see him back there and the way he moves around is really impressive for a guy his size.”

For now, safety Nate Allen will be the starter in the back end of the secondary alongside fellow safety Reshad Jones. But it’s assumed McDonald will be the starter once his suspension is lifted before the Nov. 5 Oakland game.

McDonald, a third-round pick of the Rams in the 2013 draft, started 43 games for the Rams from 2014-16. For his career he has 285 tackles, four interceptions and five sacks.

McDonald was reportedly suspended after driving under the influence of prescription drugs in May 2016. He pleaded no contest in January to a lesser charge and his suspension became public in March, shortly before he signed with the Dolphins.

McDonald, originally signed to a one-year, $1.3 million deal, will be allowed to be around the team and attend team meetings during his suspension but he can’t participate in practices.

Gase also seemed impressed by McDonald’s football intelligence.

“He’s done everything that we’ve needed him to do,” Gase said. “He’s been a guy that’s come in here and has fit in well with our locker room. I’ve really enjoyed being around him. He’s a guy that has a lot of football knowledge.

“Actually I’ve called plays against him quite a bit over the last few years, probably four years in a row, three years in a row, something like that. He’s been an impactful player for [former Los Angeles Rams] coach [Jeff] Fisher for his entire career. Getting him here and being able to do whatever we can to help him get better, it’s been a good experience for us.”

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