There’s no doubt that the Dolphins would love nothing more than to re-sign Kenny Stills to a long-term deal, but if a deal cannot be reached they could look at some other available players on the market.
The Miami Dolphins continue to holdout hope that they can re-sign unrestricted free agent Kenny Stills. In recent weeks, however, reports of Stills’ market value have continued to skyrocket, even upwards to $12 million annually. As much as the Dolphins would love to keep Stills in town, that price is simply too high for someone who has yet to exceed 1,000-yards receiving in their career.
The increased price in Stills’ projected value has not stopped the Dolphins just yet from continuing to negotiate with the 24-year old. Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad reported that it’s possible Miami could get somewhat of a hometown discount to retain Stills at roughly $8 million annually. If they are unsuccessful, however, Miami may have to look elsewhere to fill out their wide receiver position.
Some would first point to Leonte Carroo to step in as the next man up, and understandably so. Miami gave up quite a bit just to move up in last year’s draft to get Carroo as Stills’ potential replacement. However, after a rookie season that saw Carroo record just three receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown, it remains unclear how the coaching staff views Carroo going forward. Another year of development may be in order.
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It would not look good on behalf of the Dolphins if they still don’t believe that Carroo can step in as Stills’ replacement since they gave up their third and fourth round picks this year along with last year’s sixth round pick to select him. If that is the case, however, the Dolphins could look somewhere in the middle-to-late rounds this year to find a potential replacement.
Odds are though that Miami would likely prefer a more proven player. The Dolphins have other positions in the draft they’d like to address, specifically on defense. Using draft picks on a receiver yet again is not an ideal situation. There’s even the possibility that Miami could look further in-house for a #3 receiver behind Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker.
Then there is the off-chance possibility that Miami could try and find another receiver through free agency. There are quite a bit of options on the market this offseason at the position if they chose to do so. Many of the players could come in, and have a positive impact for Miami immediately without necessarily breaking the bank. Here are a few names the Dolphins could consider should they choose to go this route.
Garcon is entering his 10th season in the league, but he continues to play at a high level. Originally from West Palm Beach, Garcon recorded the second 1,000-yard receiving season of his career this past season with Washington. At age 30, Garcon still has a few good seasons left in him and could be a solid veteran addition for the Dolphins.
Kenny Britt, in my opinion, is the best option for the Dolphins in terms of bang for your buck. Last season, he recorded the first 1,000-yard receiving season of his career. That’s pretty miraculous when you consider who was throwing to him in L.A. He found the end zone five times last year on 68 receptions for an average of 14.7 yards per catch. According to Spotrac, the market value for Britt is expected to be somewhere between $6-$7 million annually, cheaper than what it would cost to retain Stills. At just 28, Miami could ink him to a long-term deal if they wanted to.
I’m still under the impression that the Browns will re-sign Pryor, but you can never count on that organization to get anything right. In the event they do let Pryor walk, the Dolphins may be in line for his services. The market will be high for Pryor, roughly somewhere between $8-$10 million annually for the 27-year old, which is pretty similar to Stills’ value. Based off of practically just one season of productivity, whoever decides to give Pryor that money is paying for upside. It would be a risk for Miami, but adding Pryor to go alongside Landry and Stills could give the Dolphins one of the best, if not the best, trio of receivers in the NFL.
Realistically, chances are “none of the above” in regards to Miami making a splash in free agency for a top receiver if they are unable to re-sign Stills. The Dolphins have been known to be big spenders in free agency in years past, but they now claim to be done with that. Even if that’s not true, there are a handful of other positions that would make more sense for the Dolphins to throw money at before wide receiver. Still, you never know what could happen in free agency. If both sides can’t come to terms on a deal then Miami may look to the open market before or even after the draft for a viable replacement.