Very soon now, we’ll learn if the Kenny Stills contract hype is real.
In one week, the market will determine his value.
The final hurdle between Stills and unrestricted free agency was cleared Wednesday, as the Dolphins elected to apply neither the franchise nor transition tags on Stills, who led them in touchdowns in 2016.
The move wasn’t a great surprise; the Dolphins would have had to pay Stills $15.7 million in 2017 on the franchise tag, or roughly $13 million if they had used the transition designation.
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In the coming days, Stills is expected to sign a multi-year contract paying him at least $10 million annually. Some believe his asking price is even higher. That likely prices out the Dolphins, who have many needs to address this offseason.
Miami didn’t use either the franchise or transition designations in 2017; Stills was the only player remotely worthy of either.
Seven NFL players were given the franchise tag, however: Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short and Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson.
And yet, some big names will likely be allowed to reach the market.
Dontari Poe and Brandon Williams, defensive tackles for the Chiefs and Ravens respectively, were not tagged. Neither was Houston’s A.J. Bouye, who is probably the best corner available, particularly with Johnson locked up through 2017.
Houston coach Bill O’Brien said Wednesday that “we really want [Bouye] back” and hopes a deal is consummated before free agency begins on March 9.