The Dolphins’ leading tackler last season no longer wants to play here. And the Pro Bowl edge rusher that Miami has targeted apparently doesn’t want to be a Dolphin, either.
A day after a source told The Miami Herald that Kiko Alonso had expressed unhappiness about continuing his career for the Dolphins, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Alonso requested a trade during training camp. The sides are working on trying to find a team willing to trade for him, according to a source.
Meanwhile, even though the Houston Texans and Dolphins would like to strike a deal that would bring Jadeveon Clowney to Miami, it appears Clowney is disinclined to cooperate, according to two Houston Chronicle reporters.
The Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson tweeted Friday: “A league source informed of Jadeveon Clowney’s thinking reiterated that he remains adamant he doesn’t want to play for the Miami Dolphins regardless of the trade discussions between Texans and Dolphins.”
Longtime NFL writer John McClain, also of the Chronicle, tweeted: “Clowney hasn’t signed his tender cause he doesn’t want to play for Miami.”
And oddly, that’s in spite of the fact that Clowney took the time to meet with coach Brian Flores and other Dolphins officials.
Clowney has skipped all of Houston’s training camp and preseason and cannot be traded until he signs the tender. As I reported Thursday evening, the Texans have offered Clowney and a first-round pick to the Dolphins in exchange for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, but the Dolphins have asked Houston for an additional high draft pick.
That’s all moot if Clowney refuses to play for Miami, though he would lose $940,000 every game he misses.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Friday of Clowney: ‘Anytime he wants to sign the tender, we can talk. The ball’s in his court.”
Asked if the Texans want Clowney, O’Brien said: ‘It’s not a matter of want, it’s a matter of difference of opinion on value relative to the contract. It has nothing to do with want. This is where the business end of things comes in.’
O’Brien added: “I know he’s been working. He said he’s in the best shape of his life.”
As for Alonso, one challenge for finding a taker is his contract, which includes a $6.5 million base salary for this season, of which $2.5 million already has been guaranteed.
A team acquiring Alonso would be responsible for the entire $6.5 million unless Miami agrees to pay a part of it. According to an executive in the league, one thing working against the Dolphins is the belief Alonso would be released if he’s not traded, though that’s not certain.
Oakland is among the teams that has displayed some level of interest in Alonso, according to a league source.
Alonso would carry an $8.2 million cap number if he’s on the team.
If the Dolphins release Alonso, they would save $4 million in cash but only $25,000 against the cap. There would be significant 2020 cap savings if Miami cuts him.
But if the Dolphins can trade Alonso, they would reap both cap and cash savings, with Miami carrying only $1.8 million in dead money and saving $6.5 million against the cap, per overthecap.com.
Alonso is due $6.4 million in the 2020 season, but that’s not guaranteed.
Alonso’s agent, Steve Caric, declined to comment on the matter. Alonso - who returned to practice last week but missed all of preseason with an undisclosed injury - also declined to speak to reporters last week.
Alonso, 29, had 125 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles last season but quickly realized that his playing time would be reduced after leading all Dolphins linebackers in defensive snaps last season.
When training camp opened, Jerome Baker and former Canadian Football League player Sam Eguavoen were the starting linebackers in two-linebacker nickel packages, a formation the Dolphins are expected to make considerable use of this season.
And when Miami plays three linebackers, it wasn’t certain that Alonso would always play in those lineups, either, because the Dolphins also have incumbent starting middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who has missed the past month with an undisclosed injury.
Flores has said McMillan is close to returning.
The Dolphins announced no cuts on Friday, but I’ve confirmed 14 of them. Please click here for details on those cuts and two trades that Miami made today.