It actually wasn't that long ago that things were sort of looking up for the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins won their first three games in 2013, and the team finally appeared headed in the right direction in the AFC East.
Since then, things have been a complete catastrophe, and the latest news out of South Florida has the Dolphins engaged in a footrace with the Cleveland Browns for the inglorious title of the NFL's most embarrassing organization.
With the fallout from the locker room scandal involving the offensive line still looming large over the organization, the Dolphins are apparently considering an interesting way of rebuilding it.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Dolphins have put out trade feelers for 2013 first-round pick Dion Jordan:
MIA has been gauging trade value for '13 1st round pick Dion Jordan, league sources said, after trading up to 3rd overall for him last year— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 28, 2014
Mind you, this is the same Dion Jordan that the Dolphins traded up to draft third overall less than a year ago.
It was an announcement that raised more than a few eyebrows, including those of Bleacher Report College Football Lead Writer Adam Kramer:
Sometimes LOL just isn't enough. RT @JasonLaCanfora: MIA gauging trade value for '13 1st round pick Dion Jordan, league sources said— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) February 28, 2014
It raised a few last year when the Dolphins dealt the 12th and 42nd picks in the 2013 NFL draft to the Oakland Raiders so they could move up and draft the Oregon star.
However, it turns out that even if Jordan hadn't gone third, the 6'6", 248 pounder wouldn't have been waiting long to hear his name called, as Chip Kelly and the Eagles were ready to pull the trigger with the next pick:
Chip last yr on Jordan: "The guy that went No. 3 we were considering very heavily but didn’t get the chance to pull the trigger on that one"— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) February 28, 2014
Given what the NFL Network's Mike Mayock wrote at the time in regards to the pick, it's not hard to see why there was so much interest:
This young man, I think he's got the potential to be the player that I compare him to, which is Jason Taylor, who ironically played for the Miami Dolphins. I also think he looks like an Aldon Smith, and if he puts on 20 pounds on that 6-foot-7 frame, one day he might be as good as a DeMarcus Ware.
Things didn't proceed at all according to plan.
As La Canfora writes, Jordan "did not click with the coaches." A shoulder injury put the youngster behind from the start, when he badly needed training camp reps. By the time the season rolled around, with Koa Misi entrenched at strong side linebacker and Olivier Vernon emerging at defensive end opposite Cameron Wake, snaps for Jordan were few and far between.
Per Pro Football Focus
Of course, that was hardly the only problem the Dolphins had in 2013.
The Incognito/Martin affair, detailed in the Wells report, wound up engulfing the entire offensive line, a line that allowed the most sacks in the NFL last year. Prize free agent receiver Mike Wallace had a wildly inconsistent and disappointing season.
With center Mike Pouncey (himself a prominent figure in the Wells report) the only starter from last year even reasonably likely to return (after he finishes a potential suspension), the Miami O-line is currently the Towering Inferno of dumpster blazes.
It's not going to be an easy fix, and there are other problems facing the team, such as the impending free agency of top cornerback Brent Grimes.
Still, attempting to solve the problem up front by cutting bait on a 23-year-old top-five pick sounds very much like a move Jeff Ireland would make.
The problem, of course, is that Ireland was fired last month, per Dan Hanzus of NFL.com.
The ensuing search for a new general manger was another comedy of errors. As ESPN reported when Tampa Bay Buccaneers executive Dennis Hickey finally accepted the GM job, the bizarre power structure in Miami led to several candidates either turning the job down or declining to even be interviewed.
Well, fire up the laugh track again, because bailing on Jordan at this point is another joke.
Yes, Jordan didn't play especially well as a rookie. Of course, that may have been because they stubbornly insisted on playing him at defensive end (in the NFL, at less than 250 pounds):
The Dolphins trade up to draft Dion Jordan, play him at 4-3 end (which is stupid and hurts his value) and now gauging trade interest— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) February 28, 2014
Or, maybe it was because Jordan was as raw as he was talented coming out of Eugene, especially as a pass-rusher:
Loved Dion Jordan last year, but he was drafted to purely be a pass rusher. Thought that was least sophisticated aspect of his game.— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) February 28, 2014
No offense to Koa Misi, a capable pro who ranked 14th among 4-3 linebackers last year according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), but Misi is a two-down "thumper" who has never logged 70 tackles or five sacks in a season.
Irreplaceable, he ain't.
Throwing your hands up in the air with Jordan this quickly is madness, especially for a Miami team that was middle-of-the-pack in sacks last year. There's just too much upside there.
Head coach Joe Philbin and his staff should be trying to figure out ways to get Jordan on the field more, not just deciding there isn't a place for him in their precious scheme.
Good teams build the scheme around their talent, rather than trying to tailor the talent to fit the scheme.
Yes, that upside is what gives Jordan value in a trade, but if the Dolphins think they're going to pull a Trent Richardson and get a first-round pick back they've been using Wite-Out with the windows shut.
The Richardson deal was a perfect storm, where a playoff contender with a glaring need was willing to overpay in an effort to fill it.
There may be one scenario that would get the 'Fins that first, according to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald:
To piggyback on previous Dion Jordan/Gamble tweet, Eagles have No. 22 in 1st rd. Wouldn't surprise me if they try to trade that for Jordan.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) January 15, 2014
However, the more likely situation (at least in Rotoworld's opinion) would probably be a second-round pick in return.
An extra first-round pick would change the game and make dealing Jordan quite a bit more palatable, but the second just isn't worth it.
For starters, it essentially "buys back" last year's lost second-rounder, while leaving the Dolphins with a big fat bag of absolutely nothing to show for last year's 12th overall pick.
Even the Browns are hard-pressed to ruin picks that quickly. They usually need at least two years.
Should the Miami Dolphins Trade Dion Jordan?
Sources told La Canfora the Dolphins may also be open to dealing Wake or Wallace, and that the reason for acquiring extra picks may be to move up in the first round to grab one of this year's top offensive tackles.
The Dolphins can certainly use the help, but Miami is also a team in need of quantity as well as quality. It's a very real possibility Miami will have five new starters up front when the season starts compared to last year.
It's why the Dolphins are expected to once again be active in free agency, and why they can't afford to fritter away picks to move up.
Miami needs three capable starters more than they do one impact player and two turnstiles. Of course, given the Dolphins' (or Hickey and the Buccaneers' for that matter) track record in recent drafts, the odds seem better of landing a trio of matadors.
Given all that's happened in Miami the past year, it's understandable that the Dolphins are exploring all their options. It's not every day that a team's entire offensive line is effectively nuked in one fell swoop.
With that said though, unless a deal that lands a first-rounder in return is on the table, panic-trading Dion Jordan after one bad season needs to stay firmly in the idea stage.
After all, two wrongs don't make a right.