In March, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said of the team, “I’m looking at it now like I build every business, building from the ground up”. He continued to say “I want to win all the time but sometimes you’ve got to take a little pain” as he referenced the upcoming rebuilding of the Miami Dolphins. Make no mistakes about it, the trade that saw Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills get shipped to the Houston Texans on Saturday was exactly the “pain” that Ross was preparing the Dolphins fan base for.
The trade sent Tunsil, Stills, a 4th round pick and a 6th round pick from the Miami Dolphins to the Houston Texans in exchange for a 2020 1st round pick, a 2021 1st round pick, a 2021 2nd round pick, T Julien Davenport and CB Johnson Bademosi.
My first reaction to the trade, which was similar to many Dolphins fans, was anger, pain, and a feeling of uncomfortableness. However, once I understood the full scope of the trade and I put into perspective what the trade meant to the future of the team, it began to make sense, and I began to see that the future is going to be bright for the Miami Dolphins.
First, you must look at what picks the Dolphins received in the deal. Two 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick. What that means for the Dolphins is that they will have a significant number of draft picks in the next two drafts:
|Round||2020 Draft Picks||2021 Draft Picks|
|Total Draft Picks||12||9|
When you think about players selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, you tend to see immediate starters, contributors, and playmakers. This past year, the Dolphins picked up Christian Wilkins in the 1st round and Michael Deiter in the 3rd round, both who will be starters for the team. (How they perform is still yet to be seen). And, in 2018, the Dolphins selected Minkah Fitzpatrick, Mike Gisecki, and Jerome Baker in the top three rounds, with Fitzpatrick and Baker appearing to be future stars on the Dolphins defense. The Miami Dolphins will have SIX draft picks in the top three rounds of the upcoming 2020 draft. That’s SIX possible young starters, contributors, or playmakers for the team, not to mention other potential pickups in later rounds.
Some Dolphins fans don’t trust the team’s scouting personnel making staffing recommendations for the team. It’s understandable, considering the way that the team has been put together the last 15-20 years. However, the new Dolphins scouting team found undrafted free agents this offseason with probable starters RG Deion Calhoun and DE Jonathan Ledbetter and future contributors WR Preston Williams, LB Sam Eguavoen, RB Patrick Laird, TE Chris Myarick, S Montre Hartage and LB Terrill Hanks. It has yet to be seen how these guys contribute on the football field during the regular season, but during the preseason, Dolphins fans saw some flashes of excitement from many of these players!
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) August 31, 2019
Second, you must look at the value of the left tackle position and what Laremy Tunsil was going to be paid in the future. The Dolphins were going to be paying Tunsil a little more than $3 million for the upcoming season, which is a little less than the average going price these days for a left tackle. But, because of his draft position and his performance on the field, he would probably have ended up needing a pay increase during this season or before next season to become the highest paid left tackle in the NFL. That equates to well over $16 million per year, and the Miami Dolphins of the past had no problem shelling out huge contracts to players. The Dolphins top brass now and in the immediate future will be more frugal with their spending habits.
Some fans argue that the left tackle position is one of the most important positions on the offensive line. It’s hard to argue that point. However, when you look at Coach Flores’s prior team, the New England Patriots, it’s hard to find a left tackle, or any offensive lineman, who, during their Super Bowl runs since 2001, has cashed in as the highest paid player in their position. Most of the time, the Patriots find the right plug and play linemen, maybe re-sign them after their first contract is up, and then let them go get paid with another team. (See Nate Solder).
And lastly, the Miami Dolphins are undergoing a true, bonafide rebuild. If you couldn’t tell when the Dolphins got rid of Ryan Tannehill, Cameron Wake, Ja’Wuan James, Robert Quinn, T.J. McDonald, Danny Amendoa and today, Kiko Alonso, you can tell now. The 2019 Miami Dolphins and teams of the upcoming years will be the teams that Chris Grier and Brian Flores built. No high priced, free agent, band aids were brought in. No splashy names were signed. No more of the same old Dolphins. The Dolphins have attempted to rebuild in the past, but prior regimes have refused to truly rebuild from scratch.
Some would say a complete strip down of the team was needed, while others would say it won’t lead to future success. And some believe that the 2019 Miami Dolphins are throwing in the towel for the season and will be tanking. I say that the 53 men who will be coming out of the tunnel at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday playing against the Baltimore Ravens will disagree!
It’s been said many times that the Miami Dolphins have glaring needs in many positions. Seeing Larem Tunsil and Kenny Stills get traded yesterday was hard to swallow, but who said that rebuilding was going to be easy? With the significant number of high valued draft picks upcoming, they should be able to fill many more needs with immediate impact players, which will lead to a bright future for these Miami Dolphins.
The good news is that the painful part of the rebuild for the Miami Dolphins should now be over. It’s time for the healing to begin and to start looking forward to the bright future.
See you Sunday! Fins UP!