One day after trading left tackle Laremy Tunsil and outspoken wide receiver Kenny Stills, the Miami Dolphins are continuing their roster teardown.
Miami dealt linebacker Kiko Alonso to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday for third-year linebacker Vince Biegel in a rare player-for-player trade, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports.
The Dolphins were not certain to keep Alonso when teams had to lock in their 53-man active rosters on Saturday, as the veteran reportedly requested a trade during training camp. Although they had to go nearly a day past the roster deadline, they were able to recoup some value.
Alonso could bolster the Saints’ defense
The 29-year-old Alonso has been a big name since the Buffalo Bills selected him in the second round of the 2013 draft and he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. Two years later, he was dealt straight up for the newest Kansas City Chief, LeSean McCoy.
He’s put up massive numbers with 354 tackles over his three years in Miami — tied for fifth in the league over that stretch — and added three forced fumbles and interceptions. However, Alonso’s value may be a bit overstated in those statistics, as illustrated by his zero Pro Bowl selections.
Alonso has had particular trouble in coverage. Last season, quarterbacks completing almost 71 percent of passes thrown in his direction for 638 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.
However, he should still provide a sizable upgrade for the Saints, whose linebacking corps of AJ Klein, Demario Davis and Alex Anzalone was nothing to write home about. That’s especially true considering how little they gave up.
Moving Alonso is mostly a cost-cutting move for Miami
The Dolphins did receive Biegel in return for Alonso, but the biggest thing they got back was financial flexibility. Alonso was due $6.485 million this season with $2.55 million guaranteed, and he has a non-guaranteed $6.4 million cap hit next season. Biegel only has a $645,000 cap hit this season before becoming a restricted free agent.
Biegel was a fourth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2017 out of Wisconsin but was waived due to a foot injury after playing just nine games in his rookie season. He later signed with the Saints and was promoted from their practice squad and registered four tackles over 14 games.
There’s a chance he could become a viable backup or special teams contributor, but the Dolphins are likely just content to have shed Alonso’s salary.
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