Dolphins Sign Louis Delmas
Miami jumped the free agency gun and signed former Detroit safety Louis Delmas to a one-year, $3.5 million contract Monday. The Lions let Delmas walk in February to save cap room but still rank in the bottom third of the league in space. Delmas will plug in at free safety next to Reshad Jones for the Dolphins.
Last offseason Miami spent big in free agency headlined by the addition of Mike Wallace. The organization also revamped their linebacker corps and they are at it again on the defensive side of the ball, adding Delmas on the eve of the official start of the 2014 NFL calendar year.
Delmas is still only 26 years old and graded out as the 26th-best safety last season, just ahead of rookie Kenny Vaccaro and veteran Charles Woodson. Delmas has had some injury issues in his career but did play 1,058 snaps last season for the Lions at strong safety posting 49 solo tackles and 15 assists. In the big play department Delmas added three interceptions and two sacks to go along with nine passes defensed.
The move will help the Dolphins replace free agent safety Chris Clemons, who now will almost assuredly be moving on. The latest rumor is that he’s “on the Jets’ radar,” according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Delmas should be more physical than Clemons, who graded out much stronger in coverage (7.2) than in run support (-3.6) a year ago. The Dolphins’ run defense as a whole graded out 23rd in the league.
For IDP fantasy football Delmas is just a player to keep an eye on in only the deepest of leagues. He ranked outside of the top 32 safeties last year and will now be playing next to Jones, who posted top 12 safety numbers in most scoring formats. Clemons ranked right around 30th a year ago playing in every game and that’s just for safeties, not leagues that combine all defensive backs. Delmas just hasn’t posted the type of tackle numbers needed for IDP success since his second season in the league. He’ll have a big week every now and then but lacks the type of tackle consistency since he’s often playing deep in the defensive backfield.
It is still worth monitoring any player who changes teams early in the year, especially in the secondary where waiver wire picks should be a big part of your overall IDP strategy. But for now, I wouldn’t expect Delmas’ role to lead to a big increase in production.
The Dolphins hope is that Delmas’ injury issues are a thing of the past. Even if they’re not, Miami protected themselves by acquiring the safety on a one-year, “prove it” deal and a pretty affordable one at that. At minimum, they’ve replaced Clemons and now can focus on bigger fish during tomorrow’s free agent feeding frenzy.
Nate Hodges is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and radio host for Tennessee Sports Radio (Saturdays at noon eastern). Listen at TNsportsradio.com. His work can also be found at TopTierFootball.com. You can follow him on Twitter – @NateNFL