The signing of free agent defensive end Shaq Lawson by the Miami Dolphins was a boost to the team’s defense, with an enthusiastic Lawson indicating that he plans on having a big year.
Lawson was signed to a three-year, $30 million contract on March 16 after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
He’s coming off a strong season in which he had career-highs with 6.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and 18 quarterback hits, numbers that he’s ready to increase in 2020.
“As a player I’ve grown a lot, still building off of last year and carrying it to Miami,” he said. “The best is yet to come. Trying to bring that 10-sack-a-season guy down there.”
Lawson was selected out of Clemson University by the Bills with the 19th overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft. The 2019 production that he delivered was what the Bills had been seeking when they chose him.
The motivation expressed by Lawson should put a smile on the faces of Dolphins fans, since prior to last season, Lawson’s long-term status in the league seemed questionable.
The first three years for Lawson saw him struggle with staying in shape off the field and make stops behind the line of scrimmage on it. A similar year in 2019 might have relegated him to a one-year contract instead of the multi-year deal he signed with the Dolphins.
Besides the money offered, one of the reasons that Lawson came to Miami is the presence of Dolphins’ defensive line coach Marion Hobby.
Hobby coached Lawson for three years at Clemson, with their connection helping the new Dolphins defender develop into a first-round pick.
The comfort level that the bond with Hobby provides, coupled with a continued focus on staying in top shape, are good signs for Lawson for the upcoming season. Once the 2020 season begins, the Dolphins are hoping to be the beneficiaries of that effort.