As we all are well aware by now, Dolphins deep threat Kenny Stills will be a Free Agent come March 9th. This, of course, barring a re-signing with the Miami Dolphins. However, reports today coming from the Miami Herald make Kenny Stills departure seem almost inevitable.
Via Armando Salguero:
“... multiple NFL sources agree, Stills is more likely to leave via free agency than stay in Miami… the market is said to already be in the $12-million-a-year range, per sources.”
Salguero also mentions that a key contributor for this numerical jump in salary is the Philadelphia Eagles who are highly interested in Kenny Stills due to their lack of offensive passing threats.
Over the past 2 months, Kenny Stills initial annual free agent offers were expected to be in the $8 million range. According to Spotrac, that number would have put him in the salary realm of true number 1 wide receiver talents like Antonio Brown($8.4M), Brandon Marshall($8.6M), and Michael Crabtree($8.5M). Now talks of his salary have reached the $12 million range. If a team signs Stills to that amount, he will be the NFL’s 6th highest paid receiver in 2017 between TY Hilton($13M) and Doug Baldwin($11.5M).
$12 Million per year for a wide receiver who has never had a 1,000 yard season, including his years with Drew Brees?
It is highly unlikely the Dolphins match those offers the keep the speedy wideout. Although the Fins have the Cap Space($43M once the Branden Albert/Julius Thomas trade goes through), the team has many holes and would rather commit a $12M cap hit of two guards than investing in a #3 WR playing in a balanced offense with an average quarterback.
Judging from the offseason moves the Fish made last year, the new regime seems to be past the philosophy of overpaying for typical sexy free agents.
In addition, Miami needs to consider re-signing some of their own free-agents at key positions: Dion Sims and Andre Branch. Perhaps even get an early extension for 2018 free-agent Jarvis Landry before he tests the waters(I’d rather see $12M go to him).
The Miami Dolphins and Adam Gase have a particular price on everyone’s head, not just Kenny Stills. They will only go so far with monetary offers to keep their own, even if it pertains to players they like. With the 3 compensatory picks the Dolphins were awarded on Saturday, it seems they want to continue building this team through the draft. Do not expect them to be the highest bidder in any case.