Fins add Spence to their defensive tackle rotation
MIAMI, Fla. (Sun-Sentinel) —
The Miami Dolphins traded for defensive tackle Akeem Spence on Thursday, sending Detroit an undisclosed 2019 draft pick in exchange for the five-year veteran.
Spence, who has 41 starts in 72 games with Detroit (2017) and Tampa Bay (2013-16), would likely take a starting role alongside fellow defensive tackle Jordan Phillips in Miami’s 4-3 scheme.
Phillips, a 2013 fifth-round pick from Illinois, had a career-best 39 tackles and 3.0 sacks, which tied a career best, for the Lions in 2018.
Earlier Wednesday, it was reported that Spence (6-1, 307) agreed to restructure his contract, accepting a $2.575 million salary from Detroit for 2018, a cut from his originally scheduled $3.15 million salary. He signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract with the Lions last year.
“I want to thank the Detroit Lions for the opportunity they gave me this past season to be a Lion,” Spence said on Twitter. “Also want to thank my coaches, teammates and the fans it was a great experience. We all know NFL is a business. With that being said happy to be a Miami Dolphin...!!! Gods plan!!!”
Miami’s defensive tackle rotation still appears somewhat suspect but Spence adds a veteran to the mix.
Spence made a career-best 14 starts for Tampa Bay in his rookie year of 2013, totaling 29 tackles. The next year, he made just five starts but had 37 tackles and 3.0 sacks for the Buccaneers.
Aside from Spence and Phillips, the projected starters, Miami has Davon Godchaux, last year’s fifth-round pick, and Vincent Taylor, last year’s sixth-round pick, to go along with unproven Gabe Wright. Also, expect run-stuffing defensive end William Hayes to slide inside on occasion to help at tackle.
The Dolphins released Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in March but didn’t sign a starting-caliber defensive tackle during free agency and didn’t draft a defensive tackle.
The Dolphins signed a pair of undrafted rookie defensive tackles — Anthony Moten (University of Miami) and Jamiyus Pittman (Central Florida) and they’ll likely get an early look at being rotation players.
Miami saw a big improvement to its run defense last year, finishing 14th in the NFL after finishing 30th in 2016 and 28th in 2015.