Kiko Alonso

Contract Details: Bridgewater, Panthers, Vaitai, Lions, Byrd, Patriots, Brees, Saints

The latest notes on all of the contracts being handed out around the league:

  • QB Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers: signed. Bridgewater got a three-year deal worth $63MM and a whopping $40MM of that is guaranteed in the first two years, according to David Newton of ESPN.com. He got a $15MM signing bonus to take over for the start of the Matt Rhule era. Newton’s post has the full breakdown on how it’ll be paid out with various workout and roster bonuses.
  • OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Lions: signed. Vaitai’s five-year, $50MM contract includes $20MM guaranteed which will come in the first two years of the deal, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL Radio tweets. Detroit can get out of the pact after that.
  • WR Damiere ByrdPatriots: signed. Byrd’s one-year deal can be worth up to $2.5MM, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network notes in a tweet.
  • QB Drew Brees, Saints: re-signed. Brees’ two-year, $50MM new deal with New Orleans includes a signing bonus of $23MM and a small base salary of only $2MM in year one, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. That structure as well as two voidable years added on for 2022-2023 help keep his 2020 cap hit very low so the Saints can spend more as they gear up for one more Super Bowl with Brees under center.
  • LB Sean Lee, Cowboys: re-signed. Lee is back for one more ride on a one-year, $4.5MM deal with $2MM guaranteed. He actually could earn up to $6.5MM if he hits some playing time incentives, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com, although he writes they’re “not-likely-to-be-earned.”
  • S Darian Thompson, Cowboys: re-signed. Thompson is getting a two-year deal worth $2.5MM, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. He’s getting a $200K signing bonus and can earn an extra $250K with playing time escalators.
  • WR Cody Core, Giants: re-signed. New York locked up the special teams ace who barely plays on offense, and he got paid handsomely. Core will be getting $4MM over a two-year deal, Wilson tweets. Only $1MM of it is guaranteed however.
  • S Jordan PoyerBills: extension. The full details are in on Poyer’s new pact. Poyer had two new years added on and will now make $22.7MM over the next three years with $13MM of that being guaranteed, Wilson tweets. He also got a $3MM signing bonus. In a separate tweet, Wilson notes that Poyer has an annual $500K interception incentive he can earn.

Contract Details: Nassib, Alonso, Jefferson

Some more contract details from around the league:

  • DE Carl Nassib, Raiders: signed. Three-year, $25MM deal with $17MM guaranteed, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The deal has a max value of $28MM.
  • LB Kiko Alonso, Saints: restructured contract. Base salary reduced from $6.4MM to $1.7MM, $4.7MM available in incentives. Already has $1.45MM roster bonus, meaning he can still hit his previous $7.85MM total via playing-time bonuses. All notes via ESPN’s Mike Triplett on Twitter.
  • DE Quinton Jefferson, Bills: two-year deal. Contract worth $13.5MM total, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano on Twitter.
  • FB Derek Watt, Steelers: signed. Three-year deal worth $9.75MM, according to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor on Twitter.
  • LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, Dolphins: one-year deal. Contract worth $3MM, including $2MM signing bonus, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Twitter. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets that there’s up to $500K in playing time incentives.

Saints, Kiko Alonso Restructure Contract

The Saints have agreed to terms on a new deal to bring linebacker Kiko Alonso back into the fold, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. New Orleans acquired Alonso in September in a trade from the Dolphins and had been set to count $8.7MM next season (assuming he was not released). Rapoport added that Alonso’s new deal will fall below that number. The Saints are currently over the salary cap, according to Over The Cap, so other cap saving measures are to be expected.

In 2019, Alonso ranked as the 19th highest graded linebacker by Pro Football Focus out of the 89 qualified players. For the first time since 2015, Alonso was not a primary linebacker, instead, New Orleans deployed him in more specialized sets to take advantage of the veteran’s skillset. In 13 games (4 starts), Alonso recorded 31 tackles (3 for loss), 2 quarterback hits, and 1 pass defended.

The 29-year old was solidly productive before he tore his ACL in the Saints Wild-Card game, but a far cry from the peak of his numbers. From 2016-18, Alonso averaged over 115 tackles per season and started 46 of 48 possible games with the Dolphins.

Saints’ Kiko Alonso Suffers ACL Tear

Saints linebacker Kiko Alonso suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings, sources tell Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). The early belief is that he’ll recover in time for the start of the 2020 season, but it’ll be a tough offseason for the linebacker as he approaches his 30th birthday in August. 

This marks the third ACL injury of Alonso’s career. The veteran missed the entire 2014 season with the same injury and suffered a setback in that same knee in 2015.

Alonso is slated to earn $6.375MM in base compensation next year, the final year of his contract. The Saints, in theory, could save $7.85MM against the cap by releasing him, with just $850K left in dead money.

The Saints traded for Alonso in September by shipping Vince Biegel to the Dolphins. In 13 games this year, Alonso recorded 31 tackles and started in just four games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Dolphins’ Trades, Strategy

In addition to moving on from numerous veterans this offseason, the Dolphins have now traded two players who were seemingly building blocks in Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick. These moves appear to have tripped the NFL’s alarm.

The Tunsil trade involved numerous Texans offers, with Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reporting the steps the AFC teams took to finalizing the trade that sent the left tackle to Houston. The Texans’ offers went from Jadeveon Clowney-for-Tunsil, straight up, to Clowney and a first-rounder for Tunsil to first- and second-rounders for Tunsil. The Dolphins managed to drive the price to two first-rounders and a second-round selection and requested tackle Julie’n Davenport in return, Salguero notes.

Upon seeing the Texans’ deal-closing offer on a board in Chris Grier‘s office, Tunsil told the Dolphins GM, “I would trade me for that too,” Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald adds (via Twitter).

In reshuffling their power structure after last season, the Dolphins were not planning to jettison Tunsil, Fitzpatrick, Kiko Alonso or T.J. McDonald. (The Dolphins dealt Alonso to the Saints and released McDonald.) Brian Flores‘ coaching staff clashed with Alonso, Salguero adds, and asked him to play multiple roles — including edge defender. The Dolphins demoted the highly paid linebacker before trading him.

Fitzpatrick is a Steeler, being dealt after a trade request. The second-year defensive back was not on board with the versatile role the Dolphins asked him to play, and Salguero adds the team never found a sufficient comfort level that would allow Fitzpatrick to settle in at one spot. Both Grier and owner Stephen Ross attempted to help Fitzpatrick and Miami’s coaching staff find common ground.

Myself, Brian, and Steve (Ross) — we had multiple conversations with him, saying we wanted him here and viewed him as a core piece and wanted him here,” Grier said. “The kid just felt it was time for him to move, and we told him what the value was. We told teams we had multiple offers, and we felt that the Pittsburgh one was the one best for the organization.”

Fitzpatrick’s rookie deal was worth $16.447MM over four years. Similar to the deal in which the Dolphins acquired Josh Rosen, the Steelers are only on the hook for Fitzpatrick’s base salaries. Pittsburgh has the 2018 No. 11 overall pick under contract through 2021 for $5.48MM, Field Yates of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter).
The Dolphins now hold three 2020 first-round picks. A building suspicion in NFL circles centers on the prospect this Dolphins rebuild may be a stealth effort for Trevor Lawrence in 2021, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. But Salguero adds one of Miami’s three 2020 first-rounders will be used to draft a quarterback — regardless of how Rosen performs in what now may be an extended audition. The Cardinals in 2018-19 and Baltimore Colts in 1982-83 were the most recent franchises to draft first-round passers in consecutive years, so as of now it looks like this oft-labeled tanking strategy is built around Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa (should he enter the 2020 draft).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New Saints LB Kiko Alonso Adjusts Deal

The Dolphins planned to release linebacker Kiko Alonso until the Saints agreed to a swap sending fellow ‘backer Vince Biegel to South Beach. Before the deal was finalized, Alonso agreed to an adjusted contract to facilitate the trade, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. 

The revised contract will give Alonso a fully-guaranteed $5MM – with no offsets – by next week. The Saints will pay $4MM of that sum while the Dolphins will kick in $1MM. Meanwhile, the last year of his contract remains untouched – Alonso is set to earn $6.4MM in base salary with an $8.2MM cap figure in 2020, though the Saints could escape that year with little financial consequence. Cutting Alonso before the start of the year would save $6.4MM against the cap with just $1.76MM in dead money.

Traditional metrics portray Alonso as a solid linebacker who can defend against the pass. But, despite his five interceptions over the last three years, he gets little love from the advanced metrics for his coverage ability.

Algorithms, schmalgorithms, is what the Saints say. Alonso’s help will be greatly appreciated in New Orleans while Alex Anzalone and Craig Robertson continue to heal up from injury.

Dolphins Trade Kiko Alonso To Saints

The Dolphins aren’t cutting linebacker Kiko Alonso after all. We heard yesterday that Miami was releasing Alonso, which suggested the club’s efforts to trade him had been fruitless. However, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports that the Fins are trading Alonso to the Saints (Twitter link), and Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets that New Orleans is sending back LB Vince Biegel.

For Alonso, this is good news from a competitive and financial standpoint. Since he was traded rather than released, he remains tied to his $6.48MM salary for 2019, for which the Saints are now on the hook. Plus, New Orleans is a legitimate Super Bowl contender, while Miami is in the middle of a complete teardown.

Alonso has started every game in which he has appeared for the Dolphins since joining the team in 2016, compiling 354 tackles and five interceptions over that time. However, despite the nice interception total, he generally struggles in coverage and is not especially well-regarded by advanced metrics.

He can be effective when deployed properly, and he will join a Saints defense that also includes A.J. KleinAlex Anzalone, and Demario Davis. He will provide solid depth if nothing else, but given the salary the team is taking on, it seems that New Orleans plans to give him a significant role. Plus, Anzalone and Craig Robertson haven’t practiced in some time, and Klein missed practice all of last week, so the Saints needed a plug-and-play LB.

Biegel, who has just 14 career tackles to his name, was used as an edge rusher and as a linebacker in the preseason, as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com tweets. The Dolphins may have been intrigued by his versatility, but it’s not as though they had a ton of leverage to ask for a more established player or for draft picks. Biegel appeared primarily on special teams for the Saints in 2018, but he will have the opportunity to earn a larger role with the Fins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Cut Kiko Alonso

The Dolphins cut Kiko Alonso en route to reaching the 53-man max. Both moves were rumored this week, but the Fins were waiting to see if they could arrange a trade for the linebackers before letting them go.

Alonso requested a trade during training camp when he realized that he would be squeezed out of the Dolphins’ plans in one fashion or another. New coach Brian Flores is overseeing a defensive overhaul and he didn’t have much use for the veteran, despite his three years of starting experience in Miami. Originally drafted by the Bills in the second-round back in 2013, Alonso won’t play out the two years left on his four-year, $28.9MM deal.

Here are the other moves made by Miami to make their roster kosher by Week 1:

AFC East Notes: Gronk, Alonso, Clowney

Ever since Rob Gronkowski announced his decision to retire, rumors have swirled of a potential comeback to the Patriots. Gronk himself hasn’t done much to tamp down the speculation, notably leaving the door open in a press conference a few days ago. The legendary tight end recently did an interview with Jeff Howe of The Athletic, and dropped even more hints that he’d be ready to play. “My body feels good. I can even take it further physically, and I could play right now,” Gronkowski said.

However, he also cautioned that his heart isn’t in it right now when asked what it would take to get him to come back. “Mentally, the desire to play just isn’t there. I would have to literally just feel that desire – just feel that mentally, that desire to play, to be back out there. Like someone is calling my name, I would have to feel that inside. I would have to feel that on a consistent basis. That’s the way I would entertain coming back to football.” The former Patriots star also revealed that he currently weighs about 20 pounds less than his usual playing weight, although he did say it would be “easy” to put it back on.

Here’s more from the AFC East on a busy day around the league:

  • We heard last weekend that the Dolphins were shopping linebacker Kiko Alonso, and now we have more details. It was apparently Alonso who requested a trade during training camp, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rival organizations reportedly expect Alonso to be cut, which is hurting his trade value. Miami is starting completely fresh with new coach Brian Flores, and many of the team’s veterans are getting purged. Both sides apparently want to move on, so it would be a shock at this point if Alonso is on the team in 2019. Originally drafted by the Bills in the second-round back in 2013, Alonso has started at least 15 games in all three of his years as a Dolphin. He has two more years left on his four-year, $28.9MM deal.
  • It looks like Jadeveon Clowney won’t be going to the Dolphins, but they aren’t the only AFC East team interested. The Jets are apparently in the mix too, although you shouldn’t count on them landing the former first overall pick. Although New York is interested, “there may be far too many obstacles on both sides” to complete a deal, writes Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. “I’m not sure how much the Jets really want him, or how much (Clowney) wants them,” one rival exec told Vacchiano. “It’s hard to see Joe (Douglas, the Jets GM) going crazy for a player like him, especially just for a year. It doesn’t look like there’s a match.” Clowney’s reported preferred destinations are Seattle or Philadelphia.
  • Good news for the Bills, as Mitch Morse has officially cleared the concussion protocol, according to Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Bills made upgrading the offensive line a priority this offseason, and Morse was one of their biggest acquisitions. He’s been dealing with this concussion for most of the summer, so this is great news that he’s been cleared. Morse has a history of concussions, and other injuries have limited him to just 18 games over the past two years. When healthy, he’s one of the best centers in the league, and he should provide a big boost for Josh Allen.

Dolphins Notes: Clowney, Grant, Alonso

The Dolphins believe they are the favorites to land Texans star Jadeveon Clowney, but Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com believes that Miami would have to increase Clowney’s tag number (currently just under $16MM) to something in the $20MM+ range to land the former No. 1 overall pick (Twitter link). Fitzgerald suggests that the Dolphins may not be interested in giving Clowney the long-term deal he wants and could be looking to trade a second-round pick for Clowney this year and flipping him for a first-rounder next year.

Let’s take a quick swing around South Beach:

  • Wide receiver Jakeem Grant‘s extension was reported as a four-year, $24MM pact, but NFL Insider Adam Caplan says the base value is actually $19.7MM (Twitter link). The total value could increase to $24MM with Pro Bowl incentives. The contract includes $7.5MM in guaranteed money, only $3.72MM of which is fully guaranteed.
  • The Dolphins are said to be shopping linebacker Kiko Alonso, though rival teams expect him to be cut. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that head coach Brian Flores was non-committal when asked about the status of Alonso and tight end Dwayne Allen, both of whom have battled injuries this summer. Alonso returned to practice on a limited basis Sunday, and while Jackson says Miami could very well keep him around in 2019, it would not be surprising if both Alonso and Allen were released.
  • More from Jackson, who suggests that edge rusher Nate Orchard is on the roster bubble. Though Flores didn’t elaborate, he said “this will be a big week” for Orchard. It sounds as if one of last year’s “Hard Knocks” stars could find his way onto the 53-man roster with a strong performance in Miami’s last preseason game.
  • The Dolphins’ QB competition between Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick remains open.