NFL rumors have surrounded the Atlanta Falcons and their desires to upgrade the pass rush. Once former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin decided to sign with the Oakland Raiders, the Falcons were forced to look elsewhere in free agency for defensive help. According to NBC Sports, Atlanta has come to terms on a contract with Derrick Shelby, who will be leaving the Miami Dolphins behind.
Last season, the Miami Dolphins spent a ton of money on defense, and they under performed tremendously. That meant that changes were going to be made. The Dolphins signed Mario Williams from the Buffalo Bills. They then allowed Olivier Vernon to sign a massive contract with the New York Giants. Cameron Wake is reportedly negotiating a lower priced contract so that he can avoid being one of the roster casualties in Miami.
When Cameron Wake went down with an injury last season, Derrick Shelby stepped up and took over as the starting defensive end. He proved that he could chase the quarterback by notching three and a half sacks. Shelby also proved that he was more than capable of holding his own against the run. Now that people knew that Derrick could play in the NFL, there was much attention paid to him during free agency.
Derrick Shelby leaving via free agency puts the Miami Dolphins in a bit of a bind. They were hoping that he would be their insurance policy for next season. Mario Williams had a really poor season for Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills last year. The Dolphins don’t really know what they’re getting from him. Cameron Wake tore his Achilles tendon, so Miami doesn’t know what they’re going to get out of him next season, either.
On the flip side, the Atlanta Falcons know exactly what they’re going to get from Derrick Shelby. Spending $21 million on a solid defensive end is a good risk to take. The former Utah Utes star is only 27-years-old, so there’s a chance that he might still improve. If that were the case, then the money spent by the Falcons is going to look like a bargain. General managers in the NFL improve their job security by finding those types of bargains.
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn had a role in mind for Derrick Shelby. Rather than be an insurance policy for the Miami Dolphins, Shelby is going to be a contributor for the Falcons. He will line up opposite highly touted defensive end Vic Beasley, a former first round pick. Quinn needs Derrick to play well enough to occupy the offensive line, so that Beasley can finally reach his potential and be a star for Atlanta.
Derrick Selby was able to play well, even though the Miami Dolphins organization was in a state of chaos. The team had two different sets of head coaches, offensive coordinators, and defensive coordinators. However, Shelby still came to work and put in the effort. That mindset should fit really well with the Atlanta Falcons. They’re an organization that is in pretty good shape with Dan Quinn bringing the winning environment with him from Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks.
The signing of Derrick Shelby isn’t going to make a ton of headlines. A lot of NFL fans are unaware of him. However, it has been proven time and time again that lesser known signings can have big impacts in the National Football League. The Atlanta Falcons have the ability to make it to the playoffs because they have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. If Shelby can help them out on the other side of the ball, then fans will start to know who Derrick is.
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