Dol­phins likely done with Branch

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Safid Deen

Sun Sen­tinel SunSen­tinel.com

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS — The Mi­ami Dol­phins are ex­pected to re­lease vet­eran de­fen­sive end An­dre Branch in a move that will send him into free agency, and save the team $7 mil­lion in salary cap space.

Branch — who had 48 tack­les, six sacks and one forced fum­ble in 28 games the past two sea­sons — has one year re­main­ing on a three-year, $24 mil­lion deal he signed with the Dol­phins in 2017.

While Branch re­mains on the Dol­phins ros­ter, he will likely be re­leased be­fore the new league year be­gins on March 13, ac­cord­ing to the NFL Net­work.

Branch is among a group of Dol­phins play­ers who could be re­leased this off­sea­son, re­sult­ing in nearly $50 mil­lion of salary cap space for Mi­ami.

The Dol­phins have been shop­ping quar­ter­back Ryan Tan­nehill hop­ing to trade the vet­eran for at least one ad­di­tion draft pick in this year’s NFL draft.

If Mi­ami is un­suc­cess­ful in find­ing a trade part­ner, Tan­nehill could be waived as a June 1 re­lease to save the team $18.75 mil­lion he is set to earn in 2019.

Mi­ami could also re­lease de­fen­sive end Robert Quinn, who had 38 tack­les, 6.5 sacks and two forced fum­bles in his one sea­son with the Dol­phins last year. That move would clear $12.93 mil­lion in cap space.

Mi­ami is ex­pected to re­lease re­ceiver De­Vante Parker, who never lived up to his first-round billing since be­ing drafted by the Dol­phins in 2015. The Dol­phins will likely not honor the fifthyear op­tion on his rookie con­tract, sav­ing $9.38 mil­lion.

Vet­eran guard Ted Larsen, whose block cleared the way for the game-win­ning, 69-yard touch­down against the Pa­tri­ots in the Mi­ami Mir­a­cle last sea­son, could also be cut to save the Dol­phins $2.12 mil­lion.

If the Dol­phins cut those five play­ers, they could save $50.19 mil­lion and have about $71 mil­lion in cap space this off­sea­son. Dol­phins de­fen­sive end An­dre Branch, who had 48 tack­les and six sacks over the last two sea­sons, could be cut in a cost-sav­ing move.

CHARLES TRAINOR JR./MI­AMI HER­ALD

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