As the calendar turns from February to March, the Internet is buzzing with reports that Dolphins wideout Kenny Stills is headed to Philadelphia to play for Doug Pederson's Eagles. Stills, who reeled in a career high ten touchdowns a season ago, would reportedly be paid somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve million dollars a year.
Just as they did with Charles Clay, after the 2014 season, Miami needs to do the smart thing and let Stills leave town. Linebacker is a more pressing need for the Dolphins this offseason, and a much more difficult position for scouts to evaluate at the college level, in determining how a player will transition to the pro game. Although Alonso is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Dolphins have a five day window in which to match any offer he receives from another team, it would be in Miami's best interests not to drag their feet in signing him to a long term deal.
Interestingly, although Stills and Alonso both came into the NFL in 2013, they are nearly two full years apart, age wise; Stills turns 25 in April while Alonso will be 27 in August. However, with Miami's entire linebacking unit in need of an overhaul, they simply can't afford to let a player of his caliber get away. If not for the knee injury he suffered two and a half years ago, Alonso would, in all likelihood, never have been available on the open market last offseason to begin with. Besides, the Dolphins absolutely love drafting wide receivers - they've selected at least one in five of the past six drafts, as well as spending a third round pick on Stills - and letting Stills sign elsewhere will give them a ready made excuse to draft another one.
Whether the move ultimately takes place this year or in 2018, the ideal scenario for the Dolphins would be to acquire a true, three down middle linebacker and then move Alonso to the weak side, allowing him to either rush the opposing team's quarterback or drop into coverage, depending on down and distance. Kiko is also a fan favorite, and his Cuban/Latin American lineage is a great fit in Miami. Here's to hoping the Dolphins sign Alonso to a long term deal and keep him in aqua and white for years to come.