The Miami Dolphins and Koa Misi agreed to a restructured contract on Wednesday that lowers the linebacker’s expected $4.8 million salary cap number for 2017. The pay cut is expected to lower Misi’s cap hit by around $2 million, but does increase his guaranteed money to $1.15 million, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. Exact terms of the new contract were not disclosed.
Misi, 30, was expected to be Miami’s starting strong-side linebacker last season, however a neck injury three games into the year landed Misi on injured reserve. The injury has been described as possibly career ending, though reports now seem to indicate Misi should be cleared to resume football activity in May. The Dolphins including the guaranteed money seem to indicate they believe Misi will be able to return for the 2017 season.
If healthy, Misi is likely to return to the strong side role next year for the Dolphins, assuming the team does not sign a free agent like Zach Brown or draft a player early in the 2017 NFL Draft. Misi is a strong run-defender who could be asked to bolster the weakness Miami had there last year. Health is the issue with Misi in recent years; he has not played in all 16 games in a seasons since his rookie year in 2010 and has missed 24 games over the past three seasons. A 2010 fourth-round selection by the Dolphins, Misi has 352 career tackles, 12 sacks, 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries with one touchdown.
The Dolphins are expected to use last year’s middle linebacker Kiko Alonso on the weak side in 2017, with recent free-agent addition Lawrence Timmons in the middle. If the team does add a starting strong side linebacker, they could look to Misi to be the primary reserve at the position, which could keep him healthy throughout the year while giving Miami a player with experience to rotate into a game if needed. The Dolphins also have linebackers Mike Hull, Neville Hewitt, Trevor Reilly, Deon Lacey, Lamin Barrow, and Brandon Watts on the roster.