The Dolphins continued their philosophy of rewarding their own and signed linebacker Kiko Alonso to a contract extension that will have him in aqua and orange through 2020. The new deal is worth $28.8 million dollars.
Before signing the extension, Alonso was given a first-round restricted free agent tender worth $3.9 million dollars to ensure Alonso would be under contract for 2017 just in case they couldn't come to an agreement on an extension before the season started.
Extending Alonso not only keeps Miami's best linebacker from 2016 under contract for the next four years, but it also has a big cultural impact in South Florida as he's now well known in the community for his Colombian and Cuban heritage, which makes him a fan favorite with the Hispanic fan base in Miami.
That very heritage was a big part of why Alonso wanted to return to the Dolphins.
“It means everything." he said. "This is where I want to be and I’m just excited that it’s official that I’m staying there.”
Alonso had a comeback year after being traded from the Eagles to the Dolphins, putting together 115 tackles, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), one forced fumble and four fumble recoveries in 15 games. He also battled through hamstring and thumb injuries and played with a cast on his hand for several games, and even now he's still recovering from two surgeries on his thumb.
As seen in this film review, Alonso has a tendency to play recklessly, which puts him in danger of getting hurt, and makes fans wary of giving him a big contract because they are unconvinced Alonso will be able to remain healthy for a full season.
“That's the way I play,” Alonso said. “I've played that way since high school, when I played in the backyard with my friends. I'm not going to change the way I play.”
There is a risk in paying Alonso so much new money, but there comes a time where teams can't immediately assume players will be injured when the season starts. If they did, then it would be pointless to keep them around to begin with. Alonso has a lot to offer for the defense, and bringing him back continues to set the precedent of taking care of their own.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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