It took longer than expected, and it had South Florida on edge that it might never happen, but the Miami Dolphins are adding an offensive tackle in free agency.
And not just any offensive tackle, but arguably the best one in Terron Armstead.
Armstead visited the Dolphins on Monday and decided to join them Tuesday, agreeing to a five-year deal. It was first reported by ESPN and confirmed to The Post by a league source.
ESPN reported the deal is worth up $87.5 million, including $43.37 million guaranteed.
By adding him, the Dolphins secured a three-time Pro Bowl honoree who was the top-rated tackle in many free-agent rankings and the No. 2 free agent on Pro Football Focus’ list — regardless of position — behind receiver Davante Adams.
Terron Armstead is a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
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Pro Football Focus referred to Armstead as a “high-end starting left tackle.” It added, “There aren’t many weaknesses to Armstead’s game. He’s one of the position’s best pass protectors and rarely loses in the run game across both gap and zone run concepts. There are plenty of teams with cap space next offseason, such as Jacksonville and Miami, that could make use of Armstead’s services if the Saints opt not to bring him back.”
Last year, Armstead was ranked 79th on the NFL’s annual list of the top 100 players.
Armstead, who turns 31 in July, is 6-feet-5 and 304 pounds.
He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round in 2013 out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and has appeared in 97 games for the Saints, starting 93 at left tackle. Armstead was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2018-2020 but appeared in only eight games last season because of multiple injuries.
In fact, Armstead has missed time in each of his nine NFL seasons, playing 13 or more games only four times. Since winning a starting job in his second NFL season, Armstead has missed an average of 4.75 games per season. But he’s also known for playing in pain.
The only other offensive lineman signed by the Dolphins in free agency was guard Connor Williams, from Dallas.
Armstead will be reunited with Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith, an offensive assistant on the Saints during the first two years of Armstead’s carer. He also played with new backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in New Orleans in 2018-19.
Throughout the process, Armstead made it clear that leaving New Orleans wouldn’t be easy.
“I love the place,” he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Even though the Saints were wrestling to stay under the salary cap, Armstead was reluctant to close the door on a return.
“I don’t want to rule out the Saints,” he said.
Armstead becomes the most significant free-agent offensive lineman to join the Dolphins since Pro Bowl tackle Branden Albert in 2014. Albert played for the Dolphins for three years, making the Pro Bowl in 2015.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Terron Armstead, Miami Dolphins agree to five-year contract