In what appears to be anticipation of a significant role on defense in 2010, the Miami Dolphins have signed outside linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis to a one-year contract extension through 2011.
Previously slated for restricted free agency as a four-year veteran following the 2010 season, Alama-Francis will now receive a base salary of $640,000 in 2011 in addition to his $545,000 compensation this season.
Originally drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round out of Hawaii in 2007, Alama-Francis appeared in 19 games as a backup defensive lineman for the Lions during his first two pro seasons.
After being waived by the Lions during final cuts in 2009, Alama-Francis was picked up by the Dolphins in late November when nose tackle Jason Ferguson was placed on injured reserve and linebacker Matt Roth was waived. Alama-Francis did not appear in a game last season.
Although he was projected as a defensive end in the Dolphins' 3-4 scheme at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, Alama Francis has dropped to 275 pounds and has been moved to outside linebacker at the insistence of linebackers coach Bill Sheridan.
Alama-Francis has impressed the Dolphins coaching staff to the point where he shared first- and second-team reps with starting strong side linebacker Koa Misi in the team's preseason opener on Saturday.
Possessing above-average quickness and athleticism for his size, Alama-Francis clearly has the ability to play standing up in the scheme and has the body and tackling skills to be a good run-stopper in the mold of ex-Dolphin Matt Roth.
Entering the offseason as a defensive end on the roster bubble, Alama-Francis appears to be not only closing in on a roster spot in 2010, but also a significant role in the Dolphins' defense.
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