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Dolphins add ex-Seattle linebacker Jordyn Brooks to replace Baker | Miami Herald

The Miami Dolphins literally have enough speed to field an Olympic track team that could challenge many nations in a relay race.

Tyreek Hill, De’Von Achane, Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert each delivered some of the fastest miles per hour speeds in the NFL last season, posting multiple 21 and 22 mile per hour speeds in 2023, but new Dolphins linebacker Jordyn Brooks isn’t intimidated by Miami’s playmakers.

In fact, the former Texas Tech standout who the Seattle Seahawks selected with the 27th pick in the 2020 NFL draft, would welcome a race, pointing out his explosiveness is what’s made him a successful four-year starter in the NFL.

How fast is Brooks?

“I think I’m one of the fastest guys in the NFL. Not linebacker. But player, period,” said Brooks, who posted a 4.54 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine back in 2020.

While that speed might be pedestrian stuff for Miami’s speedsters, it’s top-shelf for most NFL linebackers.

The Dolphins hope that quickness doesn’t just showcase itself when it comes to chasing down receivers, tight ends and tailbacks, which will be his primary job as Jerome Baker’s replacement as one of Miami’s two starting inside linebackers.

What Miami’s defense needs most are linebackers who quickly diagnose plays, and deliver more of an impact at, behind, or around the line of scrimmage, sniffing out runs and screen passes and disrupting them before they gain momentum.

The last time the Dolphins had a linebacker like that was Karlos Dansby, and before him it was Zach Thomas, the franchise’s all-time leading tackler, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023.

Miami seemingly targets Brooks because they felt he was an upgrade over Baker, a six-year starter the Dolphins released to create nearly $10 million in cap space.

Miami signed Brooks to a three-year deal that’s worth just over $26 million, and features incentives that could boost it to $30 million based on the defense’s end of the season ranking, and his status as a Pro Bowl selection.

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He was guaranteed $16 million of the deal, which means there’s at least a two-year commitment, with a team option for the third season.

The Dolphins also signed Anthony Walker, a 75-game starter over the past seven seasons, but his salary (a one-year deal for $1.4 million) hints that’s more of a roster depth addition.

However, we never know how performance, scheme awareness and injuries could impact a unit.

Brooks has played at least 770 snaps in the last three seasons, including a career-high 1,053 in 2021, which happened to be a season where he returned from an anterior cruciate ligament injury in eight months.

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While it’s unclear at this point what style of defense the Dolphins will run under new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver, who comes to Miami after serving as the Baltimore Ravens’ assistant head coach and defensive line coach, the Dolphins will likely lean on Brooks and David Long Jr., who led the team with a career-high 113 tackles last season, to steer the ship.

“I talked with Anthony Weaver, knowing he came from Baltimore and they had a lot of success last year, and the things they were doing, knowing his track record and him having an opportunity to be a defensive coordinator. Why not?” Brooks said, explaining how Weavers’ presence running Miami’s defense was a factor in what team he signed with.

And as for his race with Miami’s speedsters, many of whom he’ll do battle with daily on the practice field in Miami Gardens, Brooks has a simple message: “I’m ready, man.”

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