The Miami Dolphins were reported to be in discussions with the Philadelphia Eagles for cornerback Byron Maxwell, a move that met derision from some fans. Why would the Dolphins be trading for a cornerback who struggled last year? Maybe because the trade could also include a player who, just three years earlier, was seen as one of the top young linebackers in the league:
Eagles-Dolphins now trying to finalize trade that will send Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell to MIA for draft-pick comp, per league— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 7, 2016
Alonso started all 16 games for the Buffalo Bills in 2013 after being a second round pick for the club. He intercepted four passes, forced one fumble, recovered two fumbles, tallied two sacks, and recorded 159 tackles. The Eagles traded for Alonso after the 2013 season, sending LeSean McCoy to Buffalo in the deal. However, Alonso tore his ACL and missed the entire 2014 season. In 2015, the Eagles expected Alonso to play like he did as a rookie, but he was clearly struggling with a return to the field. He did not appear comfortable on his knee, and he did not play with instinct, rather trying to force himself into the best position rather than just playing football. He only started one game, appearing in 10 others, with one interception and 43 tackles.
Alonso has a $991,418 salary cap number for 2016.
The Dolphins have to address their linebacker play this year, after struggling throughout much of the season. Adding Alonso, who should come into this year more comfortable on his knee and ready to fill the middle of the Miami defense, will give Miami the true middle linebacker the team needs and address one of the top vacancies on the roster.
According to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero at 3:30pm ET, the trade between the Dolphins and Eagles is done, but the Dolphins are working on a contract extension with Maxwell to lower his salary cap numbers. Ian Rapoport from NFL Network has reported that both Alonso and Maxwell have been informed by the Eagles that they are being traded to Miami, pending physicals.