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Terron Armstead, after contemplating retirement, expected to return to Dolphins for 2024

The Miami Dolphins have many holes on the roster to fill as free agency in the NFL kicks off Monday. But starting left tackle won’t be one of those.

Veteran offensive tackle Terron Armstead, who contemplated retirement this offseason, is expected to return to the Dolphins, according to an NFL Network report.

Better yet for Miami, Armstead is also reportedly working with the team to finalize an adjusted contract that should give the Dolphins some added flexibility for the coming week. NFL teams can begin negotiations with outside free agents at noon on Monday and start signing those players to contracts at the start of the new league year, at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Armstead, who will turn 33 on July 23, said as Dolphins players cleaned out their lockers two days after their playoff elimination in Kansas City in January that he wasn’t certain he would return for the 2024 season.

The team gave the 11-year veteran and five-time Pro Bowler time and space to make the decision, with general manager Chris Grier recently saying at the NFL scouting combine he was expecting to hear back from Armstead on his decision before the start of free agency.

The veteran left tackle was slated to account for a $20.8 million cap hit against the 2024 salary cap. A simple restructure, where a chunk of his $13.25 million base salary can be converted to bonuses, could save the Dolphins up to $8.46 million toward this year’s cap but create more dead money for future seasons. The two sides could work out a renegotiation all together.

As of Sunday afternoon, Miami is a nudge more than $23 million over the cap, most of any NFL team. The franchise needs to get salary cap compliant by the start of the new league year Wednesday.

Armstead signed with the Dolphins in the 2022 offseason after playing his first nine campaigns with the New Orleans Saints, earning three of his Pro Bowl selections. Since, he has been named to the NFL’s all-star exhibition each of his two years with the Dolphins.

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He has also dealt with a series of injuries in his time in Miami, which may have played a role in considering retirement. He missed four games in 2022 and seven in 2023.

Last year, Armstead missed time with separate knee and ankle injuries. The season before, he had toe, knee, pectoral and hip issues among ailments listed on the team’s injury report — all at the same time by season’s end. He often is given veteran rest days and load management during practice weeks to maximize his recovery and prevent aggravation.

With Armstead in place at left tackle, the Dolphins also have right tackle Austin Jackson under contract. Miami will be focused on addressing the interior offensive line — with its two starting guards and starting center from last season entering free agency — in the coming week, but also needs a decent backup option to Armstead considering his injury history. Kendall Lamm was a serviceable backup for Armstead in 2023 and is due for free agency.

This story will be updated.