Cornerback is one of the positions that the Miami Dolphins plan on upgrading this offseason and it appears that they have with the acquisition of Byron Maxwell as linebacker and Kiko Alonso from the Philadelphia Eagles. ESPN reports that the Eagles will receive draft compensation for agreeing to part with two starters – pending physicals — when the deal goes through the NFL office as the new year commences later in the week.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Dolphins will be on the hook for all of Maxwell’s fully guaranteed $8.5 million contract but will re-work his 2017 salary. He is officially under contract until 2020 but his last three seasons are non-guaranteed.
Dolphins will be taking on the full Byron Maxwell contract in 2016, I'm told, and also getting Kiko Alonso in the trade for a pick...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 7, 2016
Both Maxwell and Alonso were acquired by former Eagles’ general manager/head coach Chip Kelly but the team is now under new leadership. Maxwell signed a six-year, $63 million contract with Philadelphia last offseason while Alfonso was acquired from Buffalo for LeSean McCoy.
Maxwell recorded 64 tackles last year to go along with two interceptions and 10 passes defended. The 28-year-old also forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble. The former 2011 sixth round draft pick has eight career interceptions and five forced fumbles.
Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus highlighted how Maxwell struggled to live up to his billing.
Bryron Maxwell had a poor but not awful '15. After W4 was average. He is a decent #2 CB, but not a ~12M//yr CB pic.twitter.com/TR9FmRlPUJ— Neil Hornsby (@PFF_Neil) March 7, 2016
Alonso battled through injuries and had a career-low 43 tackles and one interception in 11 games last season. The 25-year-old was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft by the Bills. Alonso had a sensations rookie campaign, recording 159 tackles and four interceptions along with two interceptions. However, the Oregon Duck was voted Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America product missed all of the 2014 season after suffering a ACL injury prior to the start of the season.
Miami went 6-10 last year, losing seven-of-their- last-10 to miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. The Dolphins ranked 25th in overall in defense, struggling both against the run and pass.
Miami gave up 24.3 points a game, which ranked 19th in the league. The Dolphins ranked 21st against the pass, allowing 250 yards via the air. They ranked 24th in passer rating, 17th in interceptions with 13 and surrendered the 25th most passing touchdowns with 31.
Miami is expected to release cornerback Brent Grimes, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Omar Kelly. Kelly said that Grimes was approached by the team about restructuring his contract but he refused, preferring to go the unrestricted free agent route.
Grimes is coming off his third straight Pro Bowl season, recording 49 tackles and four interceptions as well as 14 passes defended. The 32-year-old, out of Shippensburg University, has 26 career interceptions and 420 tackles.
If or when the Dolphins cut Grimes, they would create $6.5 million in cap savings, or $8 million if he’s designated a post-June 1 cut. He’s currently set to count for $9.5 million against the team’s 2016 cap, with $3 millionf in total dead money.
4-time Pro Bowl selection Mario Williams visited our training facility over the weekend to meet with team officials.https://t.co/IpiurVKdMO— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) March 6, 2016
Miami intends to continue improve its defense this offseason. The Dolphins have linked to cornerback Adam Jones, who played under new Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph in Cincinnati. They also appear to be interested in Mario Williams and Seattle guard J.R. Sweezy.
In order to have more money to spend on free agents, the Dolphins may elect to remove the transition of Olivier Vernon and try to restructure veteran defensive end Cameron Wake’s contract though those negotiations reportedly haven’t gone well.
[Photo by Ben Margot/Associated Press]