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. Klein, Alex 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.
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