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In the wake of the CFL cancelling its 2020 season and agreeing to allow players to opt out of contracts amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Miami Dolphins have swiped one of the league’s top up-and-coming talents. After NFL Network reported “several teams” were hoping to host ex-Calgary Stampeders standout Nate Holley for a workout, the Dolphins announced Saturday they have signed the defender, who won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie honoree in 2019. As for where he may fit in along Brian Flores’ defense with the Dolphins, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes that Holley can play both linebacker and safety and is likely to be used in a hybrid role, though Miami officially announced the veteran as a safety.
Holley had an impressive first season with the Calgary Stampeders, in which he totaled 78 tackles on defense to go along with a sack and an interception. Prior to landing with Calgary, the 25-year-old had a brief stint in the NFL, signing with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2017 after a collegiate career at Kent State. Holley was later released by Minnesota, had a two-game run with the Nebraska Danger of the Indoor Football League, and eventually spent the 2018 summer with the Los Angeles Rams before being cut at the end of camp.
Shorty after the CFL made the decision to cancel its season, the Stampeders agreed to release Holley from his contract, which opened the door a bit earlier for him to explore NFL opportunities. Holley becomes the eighth Stampeders player in the past two offseasons to sign with an NFL club.