Tim Bowens has been a mainstay on the Dolphins defensive line since he joined the team as a first-round pick in 1994 and he entered last season coming off his second career Pro Bowl appearance. As always, he was expected to anchor the Dolphins' run defense.
His performance in 2003:
The Dolphins finished fifth in the NFL in rushing defense in 2003 and became the first team in a couple of years not to allow a 100-yard rusher the entire season. That alone should tell you Bowens was productive because stopping the run is his No. 1 assignment. Bowens isn't necessarily a flashy defensive tackle — certainly not like Warren Sapp — but his presence in the middle of the defensive line makes things easier for Zach Thomas and the Miami linebackers. Bowens also added two sacks in what was another solid season. He did miss three games with injuries during the season, including the regular season finale against the Jets.
His future with the team:
The Dolphins cut Bowens in February of 2002 before re-signing him to a new three-year deal with two option years the same day. There has been speculation the Dolphins' salary-cap situation and the fact Bowens has been in the league 10 years might lead to his being a cap casualty this offseason as well. Bowens has taken a beating through the years, and the big question is how much football he has left in him. The best guess is that the Dolphins will find a way to bring him back, although it wouldn't be a surprise if he was asked to restructure his salary or even take a pay cut.
Grade for 2003: B.