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Dolphins attempting to come to long-term deal with Kiko Alonso, avoid RFA tender

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are reportedly working with linebacker Kiko Alonso to come to terms on a long-term contract, which would prevent the restricted free agent from receiving a one-year tender offer. The negotiations are said to be in the “early stages,” and the team does have the option of continuing to work on a deal past Thursday’s start of free agency, but they could also choose to try to protect themselves with a restricted free agent tender, just in case talks break down.

Alonso joined the Dolphins last year when the team traded for him from the Philadelphia Eagles, a deal that also brought cornerback Byron Maxwell to Miami. With the Dolphins, Alonso started 15 games as the team’s middle linebacker, missing one game due to a broken thumb. He recorded 114 tackles, two interceptions with one touchdown, four passes defensed, one forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries.

A former second-round pick of the Buffalo Bills, Alonso missed all of the 2014 season due to injury, leading to his being a restricted free agent this offseason, rather than an unrestricted one. Restricted free agents are players with three years of service in the NFL and an expiring contract. Teams have the option to place one of three qualifying tenders on the player, which would allow them to receive draft pick compensation if the player signed with a new team in free agency.

The official start to free agency is 4pm ET Thursday.