Eagles Fly South: Maxwell and Alonso traded to Dolphins
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Howie Roseman pulled off a blockbuster with the Miami Dolphins Monday, agreeing to send cornerback Byron Maxwell and his bloated contract, as well as disappointing linebacker Kiko Alonso, to South Florida for draft-pick compensation.
The deal, which can not be completed until the NFLs new league year starts on Wednesday afternoon, was first reported by NFL Media's Ian Rapoport and was confirmed to 973espn.com by two NFL sources with ties to the Dolphins.
Both Maxwell and Alonso still have to pass physicals, which should be no issue for the cornerback but could be for Alonso, who did not look healthy last season after missing all of 2014 in Buffalo with a torn ACL.
The Dolphins are also expected to alter Maxwell's massive six-year, $63 million deal he signed with the Eagles in free agency last year. The veteran was set to count $9.7 million against the cap for the Eagles this season and Philadelphia will save $4.9M of that due to the trade with the rest serving as dead money.
Alonso's contract is not an issue as he is on the final year of his rookie deal under a very manageable stipend.
Maxwell excelled as a zone cornerback in Seattle, first as a nickel back and then a starter in 2014, but struggled mightily in his first season in Philadelphia while playing in Billy Davis' scheme, which required a lot more man coverage.
Of the 111 corners rated by ProFootballFocus.com last season, Maxwell finished at No. 75, hardly indicative as a top-tier, No. 1 option as his salary may indicate.
Overall Maxwell play in 14 of 16 games (all starts) and in 75 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps (911 last season). He finished with a career-high 51 tackles with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Alonso was even worse in his first season in Philly, playing in 11 games and starting just one as he continued to struggle with the knee issues. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year with the Bills appeared in just 39 percent of the team's defensive snaps and amassed 45 tackles and an interception. Of the 97 linebackers rated by ProFootballFocus, Alonso placed 92nd.
The move could signal that the Eagles will try to bring back pending free-agent cornerback Nolan Carroll, who had a solid season in 2015 before going down with a broken ankle in Thanksgiving Day. The position could also be put in play at No. 13 overall in the upcoming draft with Clemson star Mackensie Alexander and Florida State standout Vernon Hargreaves entering the conversation.
At LB early projections had Alonso starting at the Will spot for the Eagles under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz with Mychal Kendricks handling the strong side and Jordan Hicks in the middle. In that scenario Connor Barwin would have moved up front to defensive end.
Now that may be revisited with Kendricks flipping to the weakside and Barwin handing the Sam position.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen