Additionally, the Dolphins have yet to approach DE Cameron Wake regarding a possibly restructuring of his contract.
Walker mentions that Miami is unlikely to retain both players at full price, so it could be difficult for them to keep them both on their roster.
Vernon is in position to land a massive contract on the open market, and while the Dolphins do have some options when it comes to freeing up cap space, retaining Vernon would limit their ability to address other positions.
Vernon has made it clear that he won’t be offering the team a hometown discount this offseason.
“I only get one shot [at free agency], so I’m not [doing] a hometown discount,” Vernon said, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “I want to help bring [the Dolphins] back to something relevant” but “if it entails going somewhere else, then that’s what has to happen.”
Vernon, 25, is entering the final year of his four-year, $2,818,080 rookie contract and stands to make a base salary of $700,000 for the 2015 season.
The free agent market isn’t all that deep at defensive end, which could lead to Vernon breaking the bank with so much cap space available to be spent.
In 2015, Vernon appeared in 15 games and recorded 55 tackles and seven sacks for the Dolphins. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 1 defensive end in a 4-3 system out of 51 qualifying players.
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Wake, 34, is in the fourth year of his five-year, $34.53 million contract that included $17 million guaranteed. He’ll make a base salary of $8.2 million this season and another $8.275 million next year.
This season, Wake has appeared in seven games and recorded nine tackles, seven sacks, and four forced fumbles for the Dolphins. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 3 defensive end in a 4-3 defense out of 46 qualifying players.