Top players being re-signed by the Miami Dolphins

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This is the Pittsburhg Steelers forecasting the decline before it happens.

The Miami Dolphins today announced they have signed Pro Bowl linebacker Lawrence Timmons and safety Nate Allen as unrestricted free agents.

Timmons, who turns 31 in May, leaves the Steelers after 10 solid seasons in which he recorded 100 or more tackles six times.

Timmons has active streaks of 120 consecutive games played and 101 starts, which are the longest active streaks in the National Football League among linebackers.

The Steelers wanted to bring Timmons back but were scared off by the guaranteed money Miami was offering for an aging linebacker.

The Steelers selected Timmons 15th overall back in 2007 and he was a fixture in the team's defense. Timmons is an important leader both on and off the field, and his presence will be important for the team's emphasis on building the defense in free agency and through the draft this spring. His 114 combined tackles were enough to lead the entire Pittsburgh defense in 2016. The Steelers had the foresight to give Williams $2 million in base salary over the next two years knowing he can either grow into a full-time starter or remain as a productive special teamer and swing linebacker.

Timmons' career in Pittsburgh should not go overlooked. Timmons will be taking over the role of leading a Dolphins defense that was ranked 30th in the league previous year against the run, giving up 4.8 yards per carry. But he's a big hitter who can stop the run, rush the passer and make calls from the defensive huddle.

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