NFL

Dolphins make several moves to upgrade shaky defense

MIAMI (AP) Linebacker Lawrence Timmons signed a $12 million, two-year contract Friday with the Miami Dolphins, one of several moves designed to shore up a defense that allowed a franchise-record 6,122 yards last year.

The Dolphins also signed safety Nate Allen and acquired defensive end William Hayes in a trade with the Rams

Miami tried to plug a hole on offense, too, by signing guard Ted Larsen to a three-year deal. Larsen has made 65 career starts, including eight last year with the Chicago Bears, and he's expected to contend for a starting job.

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Timmons, who agreed to the deal after visiting South Florida on Friday, spent the past 10 seasons with the Steelers and has started every game since 2011. He had 78 tackles and 2+ sacks last year, and is expected to play middle linebacker.

Allen has 76 career starts, including four last year with the Raiders. He'll compete for a starting job after Miami waived safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, who failed his physical following a neck injury that ended his 2016 season and threatens his career.

Miami re-signed long snapper John Denney, who has played in a team record 192 consecutive regular season games. The Dolphins also announced they re-signed defensive end Andre Branch, who agreed to terms earlier this week.

The Hayes trade also involved draft picks, with Miami getting a seventh-round choice and the Rams getting a sixth-round selection.

Hayes spent the past five seasons as a key rotation member of the Rams' powerful defensive line. He started 14 games last year, getting 43 tackles and five sacks.

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