This is the Pittsburhg Steelers forecasting the decline before it happens.
The Miami Dolphins have signed Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
But the Steelers put sentiment aside and assumed Timmons' play will fall off eventually, marking the end of an era for a highly productive player and the first draft pick of the Mike Tomlin tenure in 2007.
Provided the likes of Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh dominate up front, it should open up plenty of room for Timmons to make plays.
Despite his turning 31 this coming May, Timmons - a Florida State alum - is still considered one of the better inside linebackers in the NFL.
Miami's leading tackler in 2016, Alonso has stated over-and-over again that he wants to continue playing inside in defensive coordinator Matt Burke's base 4-3 defense. Having a bounce back season with Miami past year, Alonso has roots in the Miami area. Williams is a big hitter who's eager to capitalize on an enhanced role. While he has excelled at getting to the quarterback with 35.5 career sacks, he has developed into a fantastic all-around linebacker with six seasons of 100 or more tackles and 12 career interceptions.
Branch was on the verge of becoming one of the top edge rushers on the market when free agency begins Thursday.
The Steelers wanted to bring Timmons back but were scared off by the guaranteed money Miami was offering for an aging linebacker. He handled many responsibilities for the defense, from run-stuffing to blitzing to covering tight ends.