As the Miami Dolphins look to stay in the AFC Playoff picture, what should they do with free-agent wide receiver Kenny Stills?
One of the most important questions facing the Miami Dolphins this offseason is whether or not to re-sign wide receiver Kenny Stills. The young deep threat was a force at times for Adam Gase’s offense and a headache at other points.
With that said, there is obvious talent when it comes to the 24-year-old wideout. And given his age, the upside is high for him as well. As such, he’s going to command a great deal of money on the open market. That then brings us back to the decision that the Dolphins face this offseason.
Should the Dolphins pony up and re-sign the young wideout, or should they instead look to invest elsewhere? We’ll look at both sides of the coin.
Why Miami Should Re-Sign Him
After a disappointing first year in Miami, Stills stepped up and played a huge role in the Dolphins making an unexpected playoff appearance with an unprecedented streak when they won nine out of 10 games after a one and five start to the season. The former New Orleans Saints wideout caught 42 passes for 726 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 17.3 yards per reception. Stills is a valuable deep threat and nine touchdowns are not easily replaced production. A player that can stretch the field and consistently find the end zone is not easy to come across.
The Dolphins have a shot to re-sign him before he hits the open market. If they do that, they can perhaps sign him for a reasonable price and get great value back on him. Fans may not want to hear this, but he can serve as a poor man’s Mike Wallace with a lighter cap hit and better attitude. The Dolphins have been struggling to fill this role since Wallace caught 67 passes for 862 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014. It also appears that an improved deep ball from Ryan Tannehill can now make Stills all that more valuable.
Why Miami Should Let Him Walk
The reason they shouldn’t sign Stills isn’t a knock on him, but a knock on wide receivers in general. The Dolphins are going to have to pay up for Jarvis Landry and have invested a first-round pick in DeVante Parker. They also traded up to get Leonte Carroo, who if not for off-field issues may have been viewed as the best receiver in last season’s draft.
The bottom line is teams that pay up big money for wide receivers don’t tend to win championships. The one exception is the Denver Broncos, who were pretty much an anomaly all around. Not only did they not heavily utilize their passing attack, they won Peyton Manning who was historically bad in 2015 and set negative records as a passer in the postseason.
Typically, you win with an elite quarterback, strong pass rush or top corners and an ability to protect your quarterback. You have to go back to 2000 to find a champion with two wide receivers worth mentioning with the exception of Peyton Manning led teams in 2007 and 2015. Most teams don’t even have one elite wide receiver. The Dolphins are a team with plenty of issues that need to be addressed and, if Stills hits the open market, paying him may not be in their best interest.
The Dolphins need to spend money wisely. They need to protect Tannehill and bolster their defense. Cameron Wake just got a new deal and isn’t getting younger while Reshad Jones needs to paid. Undoubtedly Miami will have to address their pass rush and linebackers in the immediate future. While all Dolphins fans will hate to see Stills go, it may be the smarter play.