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The Kenny Stills’ Quandary

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Dolphins have an important decision to make with wide receiver Kenny Stills.

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at New York Giants William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

After being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round (144th overall) of the 2013 NFL draft, Kenny Stills had moderate success under head coach Sean Payton. During his rookie year, Stills recorded 32 catches for 641 yards and five touchdowns. The following season, he improved on his solid rookie campaign, amassing 63 receptions for 931 yards and three touchdowns.

Prior to the 2015 season, something went sour in the Big Easy. Reports surfaced that Drew Brees and Co. weren’t happy with Stills’ work ethic, and that the young wide receiver enjoyed partying a bit too much. There was disconnect between Stills and the team which was evident, and a change of scenery was necessary. Shortly after the Saints placed Stills on the trade block, the Dolphins came calling. Miami parted ways with a third-round draft pick, in exchange for the then 23-year-old wide receiver. Miami believed a new surrounding would work wonders for the speedy wide receiver, and expected big things from him in 2015.

Stills didn’t quite live up to the hype, due largely in part to his limited role in Bill Lazor’s offense. After Lazor was sent packing, along with Joe Philbin, Zac Taylor took over play-calling duties. His impact still wasn’t what he, or the Dolphins expected when trading for the young wide receiver. In 2015, his first year with the Dolphins, Stills caught just 27 passes, for 440 yards and 3 touchdowns. Although at times, it seemed as though he and Tannehill played together for most of their careers.

In this play, Tannehill throws a beautiful pass down the right sideline to Stills, who leaves the defender in his dust. Beautiful throw and catch for the touchdown.

NFL GamePass

Here, Tannehill again throws a dart to Stills, who is running a corner route. The ball is placed exactly where it needs to be. Once Stills makes the catch, he’s in for six. Touchdown.

NFL GamePass

Upon his arrival in Miami, Adam Gase made it very clear he wanted Kenny Stills to be more involved in the offense.

"I've always liked his skill set. I'm excited to see what we can do to get him rolling in this offense. ... I feel really good about the group that we have."

Although we are only two preseason games into the 2016 season, it already appears that Stills will be a key contributor in Adam Gase’s offense. This is where the Dolphins find themselves in a bit of a quandary. Stills is only 24-years-old and may be on the brink of a breakout season. Miami could choose to resign Stills, however, the Dolphins are loaded at the wide receiver position, and could use that money elsewhere. So what should the Miami Dolphins do with Kenny Stills?

In Friday’s preseason game, Tannehill and Stills were on the same page, several times. Here is a look at a well designed play-action pass, which resulted in a 55-yard completion from Tannehill to Stills. Hands down, the best play of the night for the Dolphins’ offense.

Trade

There are teams all throughout the league that could use help at wide receiver. Whether it be now, or later down the road, Kenny Stills could be a valuable piece in a late-season trade. Hell, Miami could decide to move Stills now, after his impressive performance against Dallas last week. In 2016, Stills will be making $1.671 Million, not a lot of money for a receiver with his kind of skill-set. The next question would be what type of compensation could the Dolphins net for Stills?

Miami parted ways with a third-round pick, with two years left on his contract. Certainly, a team would chose to wait until the end of the 2016 season, rather than part ways with a high draft pick. Miami desperately needs help at cornerback, tight end and linebacker. Perhaps they could move Stills in exchange for a young, talented player who could immediately help the roster. Ah, who am I kidding, if the Dolphins move Kenny Stills it will most likely be for a late-round draft pick. Not worth it, in my opinion.

Resign

You can never have enough talented players, especially those who are merely 24-years-old. Stills is a speedy playmaker who, as Jarvis Landry puts it, has been one of the hardest working players on the team.

This is a bit surprising, considering New Orleans traded Stills due in large part to his poor work ethic. Stills has progressed immensely since joining the Dolphins, and should continue to grow under the new coaching staff. It is anyone’s guess as to how much money he would warrant on the open market, but if the Dolphins wanted to keep their receiving core in tact, they should start with resigning Stills.

Let’s not forget Jarvis Landry is also due a huge payday in the coming years, and signing Stills could be a fallback option for a Dolphins’ team unwilling to give Landry a fat contract.

Let 2016 play out

Lastly, there’s the obvious choice, which is letting the 2016 season play out. Stills is due $1.671 Million in 2016, and Miami should have no problem paying him that. Miami could wait and see if the preseason was nothing more than a mirage, or if Stills is ready to take the next step in his NFL career. It’s too early to tell, but if the preseason is any indication, expect big things from Kenny Stills in 2016. Which might just be enough to get him a new contract in South Beach.