Dolphins acquire Maxwell, Alonso in trade with Eagles
By Sean Denison
The NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport was first to break the news that the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles agreed on a trade, sending cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Dolphins in exchange for undisclosed draft picks.
The Eagles and new head coach Doug Pederson appear to be starting anew and unloading a few free-agents former head coach Chip Kelly was responsible for bringing into Philadelphia last season.
With the trade, the Dolphins fill two positions of need at linebacker and cornerback. Exactly what kind of player’s they’re getting, however, is anyone’s guess.
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Byron Maxwell, a former member of the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom,” was a top-rated free agent when he hit the market two years ago. Despite being rated as one of the best defensive backs last offseason, Maxwell—playing outside his comfort zone in a man-to-man defensive scheme—struggled mightily and was a mere shadow of his former self. With Maxwell’s play on the field not matching his high salary, it’s obvious why the Eagles wanted to wash their hands clean of him.
In Kiko Alonso, the Dolphins get another once promising young defensive player. In Alonso’s rookie season, the young linebacker compiled 159 tackles as a member of the Buffalo Bills and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. Regardless of Alonso’s ability to play the linebacker position, the 25 year-old has been crippled with injuries during his short NFL career. In just his second season, Alonso sat out the entire season after tearing his ACL while working out in Oregon during the offseason. In 2015, after being traded to the Eagles in the blockbuster deal that sent LeSean McCoy to Buffalo, Alonso’s misfortune continued when he suffered a partial tear to his repaired left ACL during a week two matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s apparent that the Dolphins are giving new head coach Adam Gase a “fresh start” and allowing him and his staff to bring in players that they see fitting their system. It’s unclear what type of scheme the Dolphins will implement defensively, but both Maxwell and Alonso fit into what new defensive coordinator Vance Jospeh put together in his tenure with Cincinnati.
If Miami puts Maxwell in position to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and fall back into zone coverage—like he did in Seattle—he can be extremely effective. And if the Dolphins hit the lottery and inherit a healthy Kiko Alonso, the young linebacker could be an upgrade over Kelvin Sheppard.
Despite their valiant effort, Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins have struck-out on the majority of their free agent acquisitions. Despite this, Dolphins fans continue to hold onto the hopes that this vicious cycle has ended and their misfortune will one day change and lead to finding gold.
At this point, Maxwell and Alonso don’t need to be fine jewelry, but silver would be nice.