The Miami Dolphins completed two blockbuster trades on Friday that will see the franchise move down three spots in the 2021 NFL draft and secure a future first-round pick.
The Dolphins first sent their No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL draft to the San Francisco 49ers for the No. 12 pick, first-round picks in the 2022 and 2023 drafts and a third-round pick in 2022.
The Dolphins then shortly after turned the No. 12 pick, a fourth-round pick and a 2022 first-round pick into the No. 6 pick and a fifth-round pick this year in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The deals mark a memorable day in Dolphins general manager Chris Grier’s 21-year tenure with the team, which have included the last five years in his current role.
The trades also hint at several schools of thought:
First, the Dolphins won’t be in the market for another quarterback this offseason, with Tua Tagovailoa preparing for his second NFL season.
By trading down, the Dolphins will likely be out of range for quarterbacks such as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
But they will remain in the top 10 and stay in position to draft one of the four best pass catchers available in LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, Florida’s Kyle Pitts or Alabama’s DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle.
The trade could also mean the Dolphins will not be in the market — at least in the next month — for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson has become the talk of the NFL offseason, first with his trade demands to get out of Houston. In the past two weeks, Watson has also come under scrutiny with 16 lawsuits by women accusing him of sexual misconduct.
Watson has denied the allegations, and his attorney Rusty Hardin said they are “meritless.”
Watson’s legal issues temporarily close any possible window for him to be traded before the NFL draft, which begins on April 29.
Before Friday’s trades, Miami could have competed with any NFL team with their draft capital in a potential Watson trade.
When Watson’s legal issues are eventually resolved, the Dolphins could still offer a sizeable trade package for his services with their new haul of draft picks, if Miami is still interested.
In the interim, the Dolphins will move forward with Tagovailoa at quarterback and hope to use their draft picks in the 2021 draft to immediately find him help on offense, while filling holes on the defense.
The Dolphins now own the Nos. 6 and 18 picks in the first round, picks 36 and 50 in the second round, No. 81 in the third round, No. 156 in the fifth round, and Nos. 231 and 258 in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL draft.
The Dolphins sent their own 2022 first-round pick to the Eagles, keeping San Francisco’s pick with the hope they have a better record than the 49ers next season.
The Dolphins will have two first-round picks again in the 2023 NFL draft, giving Miami at least two first-round picks in three of four NFL drafts.
Miami turned former franchise left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills into two first- and second-round picks from the Houston Texans in the 2020 and 2021 NFL drafts in Grier’s first blockbuster trade as Dolphins general manager in August 2019.
The Dolphins picked three first-rounders in the 2020 NFL draft: Tagovailoa, left tackle Austin Jackson and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene. The Texans finished 4-12 last season, gifting Miami the No. 3 pick.
The trade, about a month before the 2021 NFL draft, allows Grier and Dolphins coach Brian Flores to navigate their draft strategy before their third seasons together leading the franchise.