Today we continue Looking back at the 2016 off-season for the Miami Dolphins and the 20 moves that could impact not only the 2016 season but beyond.
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Number 6: Kiko Alonso adds what to the linebacker group?
In 2015 the Dolphins came away with the realization that the linebacker group was needing improvement. Especially in the middle where Kelvin Sheppard continued his inconsistency from game to game.
The Dolphins let Sheppard walk in free agency and many believed that the team would pursue a top draft prospect to replace him.
Instead the Dolphins made a trade with the Eagles. The trade would include Byron Maxwell and the teams simply traded draft spots moving the Dolphins from 8 to 13.
The addition of Alonso didn’t stop the rumors that Miami would address the position in the Draft but by the time the draft concluded, the Dolphins were almost identical to their 2015 unit with Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi on the outside, and only Alonso different in the middle.
The Dolphins are making a large bet that Alonso can return to the player he was as a rookie with the Bills. His rookie season was as close to perfect as a rookie could have but injuries in his 2nd year brought his career to a screeching halt. Following the 2014 season, the Bills traded Alonso to the Eagles.
In Philadelphia, Alonso again battled injuries and as became expendable as part of the deal for Maxwell. The Dolphins got Alonso with one year remaining on his contract and in return the Eagles got rid of a huge cap burden in Maxwell.
So who is Miami getting with Alonso? That will remain to be seen. Alonso’s contributions to the Dolphins will have an impact on not only the Dolphins season in 2016, the maturation of the linebacker group, but also Alonso’s wallet in 2017 when he could become a free agent.
Miami is banking a lot on the unknown with Alonso and how this turns out could go a long way in determining how the Dolphins finish in 2016.
The gamble on Alonso is in and of itself a worthy risk, but not bringing in someone in case he doesn’t, that might be a little too risky.