Dolphins open to trade talks if it will lead to more draft picks
Davie (Sun Sentinel) —
Last year, the Miami Dolphins made six trades involving draft picks. This year, hints have been dropped that there could be similar trade activity during next week’s NFL draft.
According to team sources, the Dolphins are willing to trade their 22nd pick in the first round so if another team wants to move back a few spots or move up a bit, Miami’s executives are willing to do business.
Miami’s main goal in next week’s draft is to fill out a relatively thin roster by infusing young, promising talent onto last year’s 10-6 playoff team. The Dolphins have seven draft picks, and want more.
That’s why Mike Tannenbaum, the team’s executive vice president of football operations, began Wednesday’s pre-draft press conference with a “for now” disclaimer when discussing Miami’s selections.
“When that opportunity becomes available we’ll measure it against the board, what our needs are,” Mike Tannenbaum said when asked about a trade, pointing out that he routinely has trade discussions with the three teams selecting ahead, and the three teams selecting behind Miami. “We’ll see what happens. Sometimes you get a trade offer that’s hard to say no to.”
The draft is fluid so moving up the board before draft day arrives next Thursday isn’t ideal considering the Dolphins - or any trade partner - has no idea if the players they want will be there when its time to make a selection.
It doesn’t hurt that within NFL circles Tannenbaum has a long-standing reputation as a trade-friendly executive.
Just this offseason Miami executed three separate trades, sending left tackle Branden Albert to Jacksonville for a 2018 seventh-round pick, then acquiring tight end Julius Thomas from Jacksonville for a seventh-round pick this year, and getting defensive end William Hayes from the Los Angeles Rams in a swap of Miami’s sixth-round pick for the Rams’ seventh-round pick.
Last year, the Dolphins moved up and down the draft broad. Miami sent its eighth overall pick to Philadelphia in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso, cornerback Byron Maxwell and the No. 13 pick, which turned into left tackle Laremy Tunsil, and sent Minnesota this year’s third-round pick for receiver Leonte Carroo, whom the Dolphins selected with the 86th pick in the 2016 draft.
Any team pursing tailback Damien Williams has two days to make him a qualifying offer, otherwise his rights will return to the Dolphins, who have a $1.8 million tender on the table to the restricted free agent.
Williams, who contributed 155 rushing yards, 249 receiving yards and scored six touchdown last season, is seeking a multi-year deal. He was hosted by the New England Patriots on a free-agent visit last week. But New England opted to offer fellow restricted free agent Mike Gillislee a two-year, $6.4 million contract the Buffalo Bills might not match, and re-signed former St. Thomas Aquinas standout James White to a three-year deal worth $12 million.
If Williams doesn’t receive a qualifying offer by Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline he’ll be guaranteed his $1.8 million salary for 2017. Unlike safety Michael Thomas, Williams hasn’t signed his tender, which prevents him from participating in the Dolphins’ offseason program.
The Dolphins value Williams, who has served as Miami’s third-down specialist for the past three seasons, as one of the team’s top special teams performers, and an emotional leader.