The Dolphins once again made waves on trade deadline day, but this time, it was acquiring an aging Pro Bowl defensive back primarily for salary cap reasons. That’s when the team swung a trade with the L.A. Rams for Aqib Talib and a swap of draft picks.
Trade: Rams are trading CB Aqib Talib AND a fifth-round pick to Miami for a future pick, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2019
Now, while on the surface it looks as though this move is going against the Dolphins “Veteran Purge” that has gone on since March designed to clear salary-cap room, closer examination reveals what GM Chris Grier was really up to on Tuesday.
Talib who has been in the Pro Bowl five times and has two Super Bowl rings with the Patriots and the Broncos, and played there with the Rams last year (above), is currently on injured reserve in L.A.
So, the Dolphins at the moment, absorb the prorated remainder of his $8 million contract. However, Talib is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year. And, Miami can let him walk away and free the salary-cap space right back up for 2020.
So, Miami essentially got a fifth-round pick from the Rams for player that may never play a down of football for them in the second half of this season. But, they are winless and don’t care about Talib playing for them, because they’re not obligated to keep him beyond 2019, either.
It’s a shrewd move to acquire another draft pick, as Grier has stockpiled multiple 1st and 2nd rounders over the next two years. After making trades involving Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to Houston and Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh, the Dolphins will have nine total picks in the first or second round of the next two drafts.
Now, from the Rams standpoint, there making this move to free up the prorated remainder of Talib’s deal (around $4.3 million) that they could now potentially apply to giving newly-acquired DB Jalen Ramsey a massive long-term deal. And, the Talib trade let’s them absorb some of the cap hit right away in 2019.
The Rams further cleared cap room, when they dealt defensive back Marcus Peters to Baltimore the day before trading with the Jaguars for Ramsey.
Back to Talib, he was originally the first round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2008 but they later traded him to the New England Patriots in 2012. Talib later signed as a free agent in Denver and then again, as a free agent with the Rams.
Dolphins were back to their bumbling ways Sunday
As the Dolphins came back down to earth in a humbling 37 – 20 loss to Buffalo Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, many of the same flaws from their 0- 7 start were back.
Although Ryan Fitzpatrick ended with good numbers and did not throw an interception, Miami lacked offensive punch from the outset.
Miami punted the ball on each of their first four possessions and by the time they had reached the middle of the second quarter, it was already 16 – 0 in favor of the Bills.
The Dolphins could not run the ball as Kalen Ballage had nine carries for only nine yards against what’s a good but not great Buffalo defense. Newly extended receiver Allen Hurns promptly fumbled after a first half reception.
It looked all too familiar to the home fans.
The pass protection was poor as Fitzpatrick suffered seven sacks in the game, and Miami was completely one-dimensional by the time the second half rolled around. Fitzpatrick was efficient in the air at 32 – 45 for 323 yards, but a lot of those yards came when the Dolphins trailed by more than two scores the whole second half.
As for the Bills, they ran the ball just fine with 168 yards on the ground and a 5 yard per carry average. Rookie Devin Singletary of FAU came back to the area and tallied 75 yards. And second year QB Josh Allen showed one of the traits that got him drafted in the top 15, as he scrambled seven times for 56 yards, including a second-half touchdown.
Yes, The Bills are putting themselves in position to be back in the playoffs for the second time in three years, as they completed the season sweep over the Fins.
It’s the kind of improvement under coach Sean McDermott that Miami eventually wants to see with coach Brian Flores. But, days after Flores was doing his best Bill Belichick “we’re on to Buffalo” with media questions, Miami was “on to another loss.”
And, as the Dolphins sank to 2 – 8, their reality is they aren’t talented enough or coached well enough, across-the-board to play good football game in and game out.
Buffalo reminded them of that Sunday.
Dolphins give veteran WR Hurns new deal
In a season that began horribly at 0- 7, the Dolphins have begun to come around and now, put some pieces into place for the future. That includes re-upping a veteran wide receiver on Saturday.
The team announced a new two-year extension for wideout Allen Hurns Saturday. And while it’s only a modest contract, it is a signal but the team is trying to build with at least some veteran players in the future..
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport had the contract details on Hurns is getting a new $8 million dollar extension through 2021:
The #Dolphins signed WR Allen Hurns to a 2-year extension worth $8M, source said. He gets $3.27M guaranteed.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2019
This is a raise over his 1-year 2.5 million contract he signed with Miami on the eve of training camp.
Hurns entered the league undrafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. His best season in North Florida was 2015, where he caught for just over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. After getting a four year extension from the Jags, they cut him loose to free up cap space after the 2017 season.
Hurns then signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys worth $12 million. However, after he played all 16 games in the regular season with 20 catches and 2 TDs, he suffered a horrific broken ankle in the Cowboys playoff win over Seattle, and was placed on injured reserve.
Dallas eventually released Hurns earlier this year and that’s when Dolphins GM Chris Grier swooped in bring a veteran presence to their locker room on a one year deal.
Hurns, who just turned 28 earlier this week, has played in nine games this season with three starts, including the last two. He doesn’t have more than three catches in any of them and only one touchdown, which came in the Monday night loss to the Steelers three weeks ago. Hurns also suffered a severe concussion against his team, Dallas, in week three.
It is obvious that Miami went on a veteran purge for most of their roster in the offseason and the beginning of this year. And, that included getting rid of veteran speedster Kenny Stills in a huge trade with team-mate Laremy Tunsil to the Texans on the eve of the season.
That brought the Dolphins to number one picks in return. Miami also released veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola in a salary cap move earlier this year.
Miami wants to count on former number one pick DeVante Parker. And, they were also very high on undrafted free agent Preston Williams before he suffered an ACL injury in the win over the Jets two weeks ago.
Finally, as has been the case with Hurns’ last couple of deals, the contract only reportedly has $3.2 million guaranteed and is therefore team friendly to get rid of him, if they choose to do so at any point next season.
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