The final day of January is here, which means we are inching toward the start of the NFL’s free agency period. Officially opening on March 9, teams will immediately begin spending money to bring veterans to their teams, veterans that they hope are the missing piece to making a run at the playoffs and, ultimately, the Super Bowl. Before that date, teams all around the league will be trying to decide which of their pending free agents they want to re-sign or franchise tag. Otherwise, they may see those players walk away.
The Miami Dolphins have 20 players who are in that expiring contract category, potentially making each of those players an unrestricted, restricted, or exclusive rights free agent when free agency begins. We have been asking you as fans of the team to provide your thoughts on what the Dolphins should do for each of their upcoming free agents. We break down the history of the player, what they did for the team in 2016, the terms of their expiring contract, the estimated value for the franchise tag, and then as you to vote on the decision the team should make.
Thus far, all of the players we have discussed have been scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Today, we take a look at a pending restricted free agent, linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Alonso was originally a second-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2013, starting all 16 games as a rookie and recording 159 tackles, four interceptions, five passes defensed, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and two sacks, earning the Pro Football Writers of America Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Alonso missed the entire 2014 season after tearing his ACL working out in the offseason. A year later, the Bills traded Alsono to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he he appeared in 11 games, with one start, recording 43 tackles with one interception.
The Dolphins traded for Alonso, along with cornerback Byron Maxwell, before the 2016 season, installing him as the team’s starting middle linebacker. He recorded 114 tackles in 15 starts, along with two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, four passes defensed, one forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries.
Alonso’s rookie contract, signed in 2013, was a four-year deal worth $4.3 million. His 2016 salary cap number was $991,418 (via overthecap.com).
A safety franchise tag will probably be around $15 million for one season.
Restricted free agent tenders
The 2017 restricted free agent tenders have not been set. The 2016 tenders were set at $1.7 million (right of first refusal/original draft pick), $2.5 million (2nd round pick), and $3.6 million (1st round pick).
The Phinsider thoughts
The Dolphins will likely place a tender on Alonso, with the lowest of the tenders a possibility. It essentially will be the same thing as a second-round tender, but for less money, since a team signing Alonso would have to give Miami the second-round pick for where he was drafted. The team could look to go higher, just to make sure no one will try to sign him to a new contract. He is obviously in the future of the team, and they could also look to tender him, then sign him to a long-term deal sometime in the summer.
What should the Dolphins do with Alonso? Vote below and feel free to discuss in the comments.