NFL Free Agency 2011: Miami Dolphins Add LB Kevin Burnett, Cut Channing Crowder

Mark David SmithCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2011

Burnett and Bush are now teammates in Miami
Burnett and Bush are now teammates in MiamiChris Graythen/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins improved their linebacking corps Friday, cutting veteran Channing Crowder to sign Kevin Burnett.

The Miami Herald's Jeff Darlington reported this to be a four-year, $21 million deal with $10 million guaranteed. Either way.

Last year for the San Diego Chargers, Burnett had a breakout year: 95 tackles, six sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Crowder had 39 tackles last season and zero sacks, interceptions or forced fumbles. Heck, Crowder has recorded a whopping 2.5 sacks and one interception in his entire six-year career, all with Miami. Burnett is absolutely an upgrade—a smart move by the Dolphins.

Burnett brings experience and athleticism to Miami, but more importantly, he brings results. Crowder had a tendency to mouth off to the media and other teams without really producing on the field.

OLB Koa Misi showed promise in his rookie season, and if he continues to improve, Miami now has one of the best linebacking units in the league with Misi and Pro Bowler Cameron Wake on the outside and Burnett and Karlos Dansby in the middle.

Miami's front line is talented, solid and deep and the secondary has good potential. This defense is ready to prove they are an elite unit.

This move seems to have saved the team some money as well, making a little bit more cap room for a potential trade for or signing of Kyle Orton.

Miami's strength is its defense, and Crowder might have been the weakest link of the unit. He did bring leadership and high football IQ to the field, but he just hasn't performed as he should.

This was an excellent move by the Dolphins. The front office receives a lot of criticism for roster moves (and sometimes deservedly so) but I think this offseason GM Jeff Ireland is making smart, aggressive-but-not-hasty moves, and Miami looks ready for an improved season in 2011.