Dolphins bolster defensive tackle talent, add former Titans starter Teair Tart

The Dolphins on Friday agreed to a contract with one of the most skilled defensive tackles remaining in free agency, striking a deal with former FIU player Teair Tart, according to a league source.

Tart, 27, started nine games and appeared in 13 last season for Tennessee (and had 24 tackles, including eight for loss) before being waived in December, after missing a practice due to personal reasons.

Tart said at the time that he requested the Titans release him.

Longtime Titans writer Paul Kuharsky of reported that that the Titans decided to release him “after season-long issues reached a breaking point. Tart has expressed displeasure with his contract situation, and the Titans became unsatisfied with [Tart’s] effort and attitude.”

Titans coach Mike Vrabel at times publicly voiced concerns about the defensive tackle’s conditioning and effort.

Houston then signed Tart and he appeared in two regular season games but was inactive for the Texans’ two playoff games.

Tart missed two games for the Titans last season because of a toe injury.

Tart started 16 games for Tennessee in 2022 and had 34 tackles, including five for loss, and 1.5 sacks.

He started 10 of 11 appearances for the Titans in 2021 and had 14 tackles and two for loss.

Tart played in seven games and started one as a rookie for Houston in 2020 after being signed as an undrafted rookie free agent.

During his rookie season, he was suspended one game for after stepping on Cleveland’s Wyatt Teller in a Week 13 game.

For his entire four-year career, Tart has 79 tackles (16 for loss), 2.5 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery in 47 career games, including 36 starts.

Pro Football Focus ranked Tart eighth among free agent defensive tackles in this year’s class, with this comment:

“Tart had a very strange and tumultuous 2023 season with the Titans after the two sides were unable to come to terms on an extension before the year. Tart played on the second-round restricted free agent tender for $4.3 million, but his effort and focus was questioned at times by the coaching staff before he was ultimately waived ahead of Week 15.

“The Texans claimed Tart, with two other teams putting in claims as well, so clearly the concerns weren’t so bad as to scare off suitors. On the field, Tart is difficult to displace with just one blocker in the run game.”

Tart, who is 6-2 and 304 pounds, can compete with Benito Jones at nose tackle and also can compete with Neville Gallimore and Jonathan Harris for snaps at the defensive tackle position vacated by the departure of Christian Wilkins to Las Vegas.

Zach Sieler returns to anchor Miami’s defensive line, but Wilkins left for the Raiders and Raekwon Davis joined the Indianapolis Colts.

Tart played college football at ASA in New York and Ellsworth Community College in Iowa before playing his final two seasons at FIU, where he had 17.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks over two seasons.

The Vikings and Texans also showed interest in Tart this offseason, according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz.

The Dolphins opted for Tart over a limited group of experienced, unsigned free agent defensive tackles, including Lawrence Guy, Nick Williams, Albert Huggins and Jordan Phillips (who reportedly isn’t sure if he wants to continue playing).

Tart is the second former FIU player to join the Dolphins this offseason, joining tight end Jonnu Smith.


In re-signing with the Dolphins, offensive tackle Kendall Lamm — in a video message for fans — indicated that this will be his final season.

“I watched a lot of videos of people signing their contracts down in Miami that always fits them,” Lamm said. “I’m a very simple man. I watched them go out on the beautiful deck out there [at the practice facility] and say Miami Dolphins welcome, blah, blah, blah. I’m here in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“This [contract] will be signed, sealed, delivered back to Miami. And I get to step out on my beautiful back porch to the beautiful weather, beautiful flowers, beautiful trees.

“I’m a simple man. So I can tell you I’m very, very appreciative of this. This will be the last ride for me. To play in Miami, play with good people, good organization, great fans, it’s amazing to me to close this football chapter the right way. So Miami Dolphins, thank you so much. I”m blessed, excited for 10 years. Let’s close this the right way.”