01ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The well-known inside linebacker, having spent his first seven seasons with the Broncos, is finally on the street.
John Fox chose not to exercise the option on D.J. Williams' contract and the player could hit the market next week.
And the Dolphins look to be the most likely to grab him.
Williams has long been considered a top middle linebacker. Now, with Super Bowl LIII on the horizon, he's in the midst of a make-or-break year.
The Dolphins' idea of a stout middle linebacker is Dannell Ellerbe, but the 32-year-old is coming off a season-ending Achilles tendon rupture. Now Miami is in the market for another.
That role could be Williams' if he lands with the Dolphins, which is about as far as Williams has been willing to go in his search for a new team. Williams and his agent, David Canter, are not interested in joining another AFC West team. They want to join a contender that has a proven defensive coordinator.
The Broncos are certainly no longer that team.
Pairing veteran Ellerbe with third-year player Kiko Alonso would give Miami a fairly veteran duo in the middle of the defense. Both players have been finalists in the franchise's middle linebacker of the year award in consecutive years.
But Williams is the type of player that, while he likes to play with a certain intensity, can help a defense from Day 1 and grow with it. Players like that can keep a defense honest and inside of their comfort zones. Williams also proved last season that he's willing to wear an NFL uniform.
While he spent most of his career in Denver, Williams' name has been tied to the Broncos since he was drafted by them 0b46394aab