Miami is at a major crossroads, and the Valentine's Day release of the findings of Ted Wells' investigation over "Bullygate" hangs over this franchise like the foul stench of a rotting dolphin carcass in The Cove.
This might make this next offseason much more challenging, and this is an offseason where, as Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald points out, "The Dolphins will likely begin the year with an entirely new offensive line."
This gives me an idea: What are some trade scenarios the Dolphins could be involved in that would help to build said offensive line?
In fact, what trade scenarios could the Dolphins be involved with in general? Here's a look at five said scenarios.
The 49ers would be the ideal scenario for Martin since he will be able to live closer to home in the Bay Area working with his former college coach on a veteran-laden team that is stable from top to bottom.
Jim Harbaugh, Martin's former college coach, is also a fan of Martin's, as stated by ESPN's Bill Williamson, who quotes Harbaugh as saying:
As far as that situation, there’s only one thing I can intelligently comment on and that’s knowing Jonathan Martin. I know him to be a fine person and his family. [Martin was a] great contributor as a student and an athlete at Stanford, epitomizes the student-athlete model and a personal friend. I support Jonathan.
If I'm Martin's agent Kenny Zuckerman, I'm pushing for the Dolphins to make this deal when he meets with the team during the combine (per Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post). The Dolphins should also be willing to make this deal so that they could at least recoup some type of compensation for Martin.
Martin's better off being traded since he has two years left on his original rookie deal and is set to make $1,304,800 in 2014 and $1,522,267 in 2015. If he's released, he will make much less than that, possibly even league-minimum.
The question is whether the 49ers be willing to make that deal when they could sign him for much cheaper later and not have to give up a draft pick for him.
One way to get the San Francisco 49ers to bite on a Jonathan Martin trade: create a demand.
Another Stanford connection could do just that, especially a Stanford connection that needs some help building an offensive line.
About Pep Hamilton—before he took over as Colts offensive coordinator after Bruce Arians left to take over as Arizona Cardinals head coach, he spent two years as Stanford's offensive coordinator, working with Martin and Luck in 2011.
That's another strong Stanford connection for Martin that would help him out. Plus, unlike in San Francisco, Martin would likely get playing time in Indianapolis—he might even start since Indianapolis' offensive line leaves much to be desired.
How would Martin be accepted in the Indianapolis locker room? Just ask Luck, who, according to Cindy Boren of the Washington Post, said in November: “I love Jon like a brother." The same article also quoted Coby Fleener, a Colts tight end and fellow classmate of Martin's at Stanford, disputing the very notion that Martin needed to “toughen up.”
Both San Francisco and Indianapolis provide good support structures and stability for Martin, which the Dolphins shouldn't be afraid to exploit by pitting the Colts and 49ers against each other.
Either deal would seem closer to fantasy than reality because both teams will likely wait it out until Martin is released, but if a deal could be made with either team, a deal should be made.
This will likely be the most controversial slide of the slideshow, but I will stick with this.
The Dolphins should trade Mike Pouncey.
I have a lot more to say about this possibility (and I will link it out on Twitter and in this space once I say it), but Pouncey seems to be more trouble than he's worth right now between getting served a subpoena and testifying in the Aaron Hernandez case (per Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated), not apologizing for wearing that "Free Hernandez" baseball cap when his brother Maurkice did (per Kevin Patra of NFL.com) or the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
I'm referring, of course, to Pouncey's involvement in the Incognito-Martin saga. Mike Pouncey is the only player involved as one of the perpetrators who is still under contract to the Dolphins.
Is it stupid for the Dolphins to trade a Pro Bowl center entering only his fourth year in the league? Normally, I'd say yes, but here I'd say that the Dolphins should flush every possible element they can of that case out.
That involves firing Jim Turner (how has that not happened yet?) and trading Mike Pouncey.
Pouncey does have a very tradeable contract: He's entering into the final year of his rookie deal and the Dolphins have the option to pick up his fifth year. He likely would be expected to sign an extension prior to training camp this year under any other normal circumstances.
Another team could choose to take a flier on him coming off of a Pro Bowl season. He will only be making $2.95 million in 2014.
However, Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post reports that Pouncey could face a suspension in light of the Wells investigation, which might deter some teams from taking a chance.
Pouncey could bring in a third-round pick for Miami if dealt, and with all of the problems that surround him, that would be a good haul for him.
I've suggested signing Cleveland center Alex Mack and moving Pouncey to guard in the past. Maybe instead, Miami could just sign Mack with the future money they would've paid Pouncey?
Miami really doesn't have the resources to do this, so this is just me floating by this idea as the proverbial strongman.
I'm of course talking about trading up in the draft, something that no one else has discussed (or will, because again, it's not the smartest of ideas).
The only reason I would trade up if I were the Dolphins would be to acquire Auburn's left tackle Greg Robinson. He has everything you could want in a franchise left tackle.
Other than that, there's no reason to do this. Miami simply doesn't have the assets to trade or resources to do this.
It's still fun to think about though.
If you've read my work, you're tired of me embedding the video of, and saying the name Zack Martin—aka the man Tommy Boy wants the Dolphins to draft at No. 19 this year.
Martin, however, might be just as available at No. 29 in the draft this year as he is at No. 19, which leads me to the trade I'd like to see the Dolphins make the most: down in the first round of the draft.
This isn't just about Martin but about the talent in the draft as a whole. From 19-32 I really don't see too big of a difference in talent in the places where Miami needs help, so why not use that to its advantage and cut a deal with someone further back in the first round who could use talent that's available at 19 to fit a need they might have that the Dolphins don't have?
This would give Miami additional picks, which they sorely need to rebuild their offensive line and fill some of their other needs.
It could even give them future draft picks, which are always nice to have.
So far the rumor mill is quiet on that front, but it could heat up as we get closer to the draft. Right now, that's the best trade scenario for the Dolphins this offseason.
All salary information courtesy of spotrac.com.