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Prized free-agent tackle Terron Armstead to visit Dolphins; La’el Collins goes to Bengals

A week-long wait in free agency for the Miami Dolphins to address what is likely the NFL’s most glaring hole at offensive tackle finally is seeing some movement.

The Dolphins are hosting the free-agent cycle’s most prized player at the position in New Orleans Saints left tackle Terron Armstead on Monday after he travels Sunday night, according to a league source and as first reported by NFL Network.

The development came after former Dallas Cowboys right tackle, La’el Collins, probably the second-best tackle in this free-agent cycle, agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Bengals earlier Sunday.

Collins’ decision gives Miami’s pursuit of Armstead an all-or-nothing feel for improvement at tackle after the Dolphins haven’t locked in a player at the position since free-agent negotiations opened last Monday. The Cowboys tried to trade Collins before releasing him, which made him available to sign with any team he desired.

Armstead, who turns 31 before the start of the 2022 season, is a three-time Pro Bowl selection from 2018 to 2020. He has spent his entire nine-year career with the Saints as a third-round pick out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, blocking for future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees for much of that time.

Armstead would immediately enhance the Dolphins at a position where Jesse Davis struggled all season on the right side, as did rookie Liam Eichenberg on the left side and second-year blocker Austin Jackson before he was moved inside to left guard. All three are under contract for 2022, but Davis is a candidate to be released if the team needs to add cap space for a big acquisition.

Former Dallas Cowboys guard Connor Williams was Miami’s first offensive line addition of this free agency period, reaching an agreement on Tuesday. The Dolphins have since officially announced his signing.

Armstead’s 6-foot-5, 304-pound presence would upgrade the Dolphins’ pass protection for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa heading into his third season and beef up Miami’s run-blocking as new coach Mike McDaniel’s run-based offense will feature the outside-zone scheme. He also could bring a veteran voice to a line that is relatively young, with Eichenberg, Jackson, Robert Hunt, Michael Deiter, Solomon Kindley, Robert Jones, Greg Little and Larnel Coleman all 25 or younger, as well as Williams.

While a premium NFL tackle, Armstead has also struggled to stay on the field in his career, missing roughly a third of his games. Armstead missed nine games in 2021, including the final four with a knee injury. He was out for the Saints’ 20-3 Monday night loss to the Dolphins on Dec. 27.

The Dolphins already reached agreements with eight outside free agents as of Sunday evening: Williams, backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, running backs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, wide receivers Cedrick Wilson Jr. and Trent Sherfield, fullback Alec Ingold and special teamer Keion Crossen as outside free-agent acquisitions.

They also locked in defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah to a four-year deal Monday to keep him in Miami, and tight end Mike Gesicki signed his franchise tag tender after being placed on the tag last week. Linebackers Elandon Roberts, Duke Riley, Sam Eguavoen and Brennan Scarlett, tight end Durham Smythe, wide receiver Preston Williams and safety Sheldrick Redwine have also re-signed with the team. Cornerback Nik Needham had a second-round tender placed on him in his restricted free agency.

Several guards landed elsewhere while the Dolphins signed Williams. Laken Tomlinson, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers where he played under McDaniel, went to the New York Jets instead reuiniting with another former 49ers assistant turned AFC East head coach in Robert Saleh. Another veteran first-time Pro Bowl selection in 2021, Rodger Saffold, went from the Titans to the Bills. Brandon Scherff, considered by many as the top guard in this free agency class, went from Washington to to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fellow guard Alex Cappa went from the Buccaneers to the Bengals, who also added Ted Karras. Former Miami Hurricane and Davie Western High grad Jon Feliciano landed with the Giants after a tenure with the Bills.

If the Dolphins were looking to upgrade from Michael Deiter at center, various top options stayed put between Ryan Jensen in Tampa Bay, Ben Jones with the Titans and Brian Allen with the Los Angeles Rams. Former Ravens center Bradley Bozeman went to the Carolina Panthers.

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Source: Berkshire mont

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