What had been rumored for weeks has now happened on the eve of the trading deadline, as a Miami Dolphins parted with another veteran at Monday morning by dealing running back Kenyan Drake to Arizona.
Trade: Arizona has reached agreement in principle to trade a conditional 2020 draft pick to Miami for RB Kenyan Drake, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2019
The first giveaway the Drake was about to be traded was, when the team did not have him travel with them on Sunday to Pittsburgh to get ready for the Monday night game with the Steelers. This was a clear indication that they did not want to risk Drake being injured in a game on Monday with the trading deadline looming Tuesday afternoon.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the pick in return is a sixth rounder that can become a fifth rounder in 2020 for Miami depending on how Drake plays in Arizona.
Further, it had become clear that Miami has moved on to second-year running back Mark Walton, who has started their last couple of games. And, they also want to take a bigger look at both second-year back Kalen Ballage and rookie Myles Gaskin in what has become a lost season.
Drake has only carried the ball 47 times for 174 yards in Miami’s six games. He’s also a pass catching threat, but has just 22 catches for an identical 174 yards in 2019. Drake was part of arguably the most famous Dolphins play to end a game in franchise history, when he took a lateral and ran it in with no time left to beat the Patriots in December. The play has been dubbed “The Miami Miracle.”
The Cardinals are in the market for a running back with veteran David Johnson battling an ankle injury and was inactive for Sunday’s game with the Saints. Also, rookie running back Chase Edmonds, who scored three touchdowns last week against the Giants, suffered a hamstring injury in New Orleans and will be out as well.
The Cardinals are slated to play Thursday night football against the San Francisco 49ers at home. It’s unclear how quickly Drake can get to Arizona and at least get a day of practice in before that game to possibly be available for them.
This trade is only the latest of a barrage of moves by GM Chris Grier to get rid of any veteran players, or ones of value, that Miami has made during a horrible 2019 season.
They traded left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills for two number one draft picks to the Houston Texans on the eve of the season. They also dealt linebacker/leading tackler the last two years, Kiko Alonso to the Saints, and later traded last year’s number one pick, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, to Pittsburgh last month.
That means that Fitzpatrick will get to go against his old team later on Monday night.
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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