If misery loves company, there isn't a more fitting trade than the Miami Dolphins sending a conditional late-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for the services of embattled left tackle Bryant McKinnie.
Just a few short weeks ago, the Ravens were engaged in a trade of their own—also adding an offensive tackle because one of their own was struggling. That offensive tackle was McKinnie.
Now, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports is reporting that the Dolphins are trying to upgrade their own turnstile at offensive tackle by trading for another:
McKinnie has played left tackle over his entire 12-year career, so it would appear that he will eventually supplant Jonathan Martin in that spot and move him back to right tackle, where he'll take over for Tyson Clabo.
Clabo and Martin have been posterized this season, allowing 55 combined pressures and 14 sacks between them.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill must be stoked that the team is trying to fix its issues up front. Maybe the Dolphins won't give up a record-setting number of sacks this year, after all. He was once on pace to be sacked 76 times this season and is currently on pace for 69—seven shy of the NFL record.
If the Dolphins are expecting this trade to fix all that ails them up front, they might want to rethink their strategy. After all, the Ravens felt it necessary to upgrade over McKinnie at left tackle through a trade of their own.
McKinnie started the first five games of the season for the Ravens, but was demoted from starting left tackle to backup after the team traded for former Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe. McKinnie has been inactive for two straight weeks.
Bleacher Report's AFC North lead writer, Andrea Hangst, shared her thoughts on McKinnie's value to the Dolphins.
"He's a turnstile that almost single-handedly dragged the Ravens' o-line to PFF's worst-rated group in the league. He's awful at run-blocking this year, too," she said. "
"He shows up to every training camp overweight and out of condition. At least he has experience? He'd only help if Miami's OTs are the worst, because he's pretty bad. This can't be seen as more than a desperation move. The Ravens were all too happy to get rid of him."
Well, then. That doesn't exactly paint a bright picture for McKinnie's future with the team, now does it?
The Dolphins must be hoping that he can somehow return to the form he found in the 2012 playoffs, when he started all four games at left tackle and allowed just nine total pressures and two sacks on quarterback Joe Flacco in the postseason.
That form, however, seems to have been left back in January. McKinnie has struggled mightily all season.
|Dolphins offensive tackles, 2013|
|Player||Pass snaps||Hurries||Hits||Sacks||Pressure %|
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), McKinnie could hardly be considered an upgrade over Clabo or even Martin. All three rank in the bottom 17 in PFF's pass-blocking efficiency, a measure of pass protection with extra weight given to sacks allowed.
Even if McKinnie is able to provide a quick fix at tackle, the team still has long-term questions to address at the position. As Hangst mentioned, McKinnie showed up to camp overweight in both 2011 and 2013, with the former prompting his release from the Minnesota Vikings.
In his second year, Martin has yet to take a significant step forward. Moving him back to the right side might help, since he won't be up against a team's top pass-rusher every snap, but he wasn't much better on the right side in 2012 than he's been on the left side in 2013.
To their credit, the Dolphins tried a few things on Sunday to buy Tannehill more time in the pocket. They had him on a designed roll no fewer than three times to avoid pressure.
The plan worked, with Tannehill being pressured on 16 of his 39 dropbacks and being sacked just twice, but the responsibility for both sacks fell on Clabo.
The Dolphins' offensive line has struggled in the running game as well. According to PFF's grading metrics, it is the eighth-worst unit in the NFL. Football Outsiders agrees and awarded the group with the sixth-lowest average adjusted line yards in the running game.
McKinnie grades out as the second-worst run-blocking offensive tackle in the NFL.
Give the Dolphins credit for addressing their problem and deciding to do something about it. Just don't be surprised if they are facing the same issues with McKinnie in the lineup that they faced before he arrived in Miami.
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand or via team news releases.
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