If the Miami Dolphins are indeed tanking, several of their best players may not be interested in sticking around. Here are some worthy trade targets for the other 31 NFL teams.
The Miami Dolphins lost their first game of the 2019 NFL regular season by 49 points, as they were completely carved up by Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. While the Ravens, who won the AFC North last year, are a tough matchup, the Dolphins put up nothing resembling a fight on either side of the ball. Even the offense, which boasts a handful of quality skill position players, could muster nothing, as FitzTragic decided to show up instead of FitzMagic.
In fact, the Dolphins were so abysmal in Week 1 that Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports that several players asked their agents to look for a trade. The reason? They believe the chatter that the Dolphins are tanking, which is understandable considering this team is starting Ryan Fitzpatrick after also trading Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills.
As awful as the Dolphins are — this looks like a legitimate 0-16 contender — they have several players who should pique the interest of teams around the league. And, yes, most of those players are on offense.
Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage
It is baffling how little the Dolphins use Kenyan Drake, who can be a great three-down back in this league. At worst, he’d be a strong complementary piece to a team in need of a secondary rusher and a quality, versatile pass-catcher out of the backfield. Drake has every reason to demand a trade, especially after being underused last season in a partnership with Frank Gore.
Kalen Ballage averaged 5.3 yards per carry last season and is one of the league’s most underrated pure rushers. For the price of a late-round pick, a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could pick up a possible 1,000-yard rusher.
The wide receivers
With the exception of Allen Hurns, who was once effective in Jacksonville before crashing out in Dallas last year, the Dolphins are loaded at receiver. Preston Williams scored a touchdown in his first regular season game after lighting up the preseason, Jakeem Grant is a spark plug with special teams ability and Albert Wilson is a YAC monster who can own out of the slot.
Grant and Wilson are possible X-factors for contending teams looking for players who are dangerous with the ball in their hands, but the real catch is DeVante Parker, who already had an axe to grind with Adam Gase (but who doesn’t?) last season.
Parker is the best player on the Dolphins offense and a legitimate high-end No. 2 receiver who can dominate in the air. He’s worth trading a mid-round pick for, whereas the other receivers on the Miami roster are talented dice rolls.
Excellent defensive backs
If Reshad Jones wants to play for a contender late in his career, pretty much every team interested in a disciplined, athletic and experienced strong safety should come calling. Jones hits hard, dominates the run and can take tight ends out of the game. Jones is probably a safe bet for someone who wants out.
Xavien Howard is the dream acquisition, but it sounds like the Dolphins will find a way to keep him. Unless, of course, Howard has a change of heart despite recently signing a lucrative deal with the Dolphins. He’s one of the best shutdown and playmaking cornerbacks in the league, and the Dolphins would ask for multiple first-round picks if any team tried to pry him away. Howard is one of their few actual building blocks, and they have no reason to trade him due to the years left on his contract.
But Minkah Fitzpatrick is a little more interesting. The Dolphins should also hold onto him due to his age, talent, upside and modest cap hit. That said, if Fitzpatrick wants out and the Dolphins are worried about winning him over long term, he’d be a great guy to acquire. The Dolphins could say yes at the right price.