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AC In The AM: Reported Trade Has Big Possibilities

Posted Mar 8, 2016

Based on several reports, the Dolphins will finalize a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday for cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso. Think what it could mean for this team, this defense.

(Andy Cohen In the Morning – AC in the AM – will appear on Dolphins.com during the offseason as events warrant. You can also follow AC in the AM by Twitter at @acohenfins).

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This is how the Dolphins’ defense gets better in a hurry. You trade for a cornerback and a linebacker with impressive credentials. You find two players in the prime of their careers. You locate what you want and you go for it with a sense of urgency, aggressiveness and conviction.

This is how the Dolphins got Ndamukong Suh a year ago and this is how they went out and, based on several reports, will finalize a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday for cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso. Nothing can be official until then. But think what it could mean for this team, this defense.

Now, think what it says about the triumvirate of Mike Tannenbaum, Chris Grier and Adam Gase. How they don’t waste time. How they play an attacking style. They entered the offseason knowing that this defense needed a different look, an influx of talent, and they seized the opportunity. What more could ask for? How much more impressive a start could the Dolphins have as the new NFL year kicks in?

The bottom line is this: The Dolphins defense will be better the day this trade takes place than they were the day before. That is undeniable. And as we saw last season, there is plenty of improving to do.

In Maxwell, they would be getting a big cornerback. Big in stature (6-1, 210 pounds) and big in productivity. They would be getting a player who was outstanding for the World Champion Seattle Seahawks two seasons ago and who signed a big contract with the Eagles last offseason. He responded with another solid season, allowing only two touchdown passes all year, those two in the season-opener against Atlanta’s Julio Jones.

In Alonso, they would be getting one of the better young inside linebackers in the league, a player who put together some staggering numbers as a rookie with the Bills in the 2013 season and, who was so highly thought of, he was traded to the Eagles for All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy. That should say plenty right there.

Alonso missed the 2014 season with a knee injury and also missed time last season due to injuries. But there should be no question about either his physical ability or his potential.

The Dolphins needed an experienced cornerback who could match up with those tall athletic receivers now so commonplace. They needed a run-stuffing linebacker, a tackle machine. With one trade, they could get both.

Yes, this defense needs more help. But the reported trade with the Eagles would be a huge first step and a clear indication that the team’s current hierarchy does not have the patience or the desire to be involved in any long rebuilding process. The want to win now. These are two players who will help get them there.

Acquiring this type of talent will only give the Dolphins additional flexibility in the draft and will lessen the urgency of having to open the vault too many times in free agency. There is really no downside to this deal.

The more I watch Tannenbaum and Grier work together, the more I see the fruits of their labor, the more convinced I am that the Dolphins are in the right hands and heading in the right direction. They share a similar vision. They are aggressive and methodical and there is no path they won’t explore to make this team better, and better in a hurry. If that wasn’t evident before word leaked of this trade, it’s certainly evident now.

Makes you wonder, with great anticipation, what they could possibly do next.

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by our columnists and bloggers represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.