You hate to lose one of the "good guys" on the team. Make no mistake, the Miami Dolphins' Justin Smiley is one of the good guys.
The media likes him, the fans like him, the coaches like him, and, most importantly, he appears to be highly respected and provides leadership in the locker room, especially to a player such as stalwart left tackle Jake Long.
But he's soon to be gone. Reportedly, if he can pass a physical (a big IF considering his bum right shoulder), the guard is on his way to Jacksonville in a trade for a "low round" draft pick. Even if the trade falls through, Smiley will leave Miami soon. He has been on borrowed time ever since Bill Parcells told him to stay away from team workouts two months ago.
The bio on Justin Smiley reads something like this: Good pull and trap blocker when healthy, but he is injury prone and his shoulder might be shot. Oh, and he is in the midst of a five-year, $25 million contract and he'll be age 29 in the middle of the season.
There is a place for "good guys" in the NFL, just not for good guys who can't cut it physically on the field, and who carry high price tags.
This sounds a little cold-hearted and it is probably a shame.
But only until you consider how comfortable you'd really be with Smiley starting at left guard, as you picture a defensive tackle such as New England's Vince Wilfork bursting through that wounded shoulder and slamming his 350 pounds into franchise quarterback prospect Chad Henne.
How much would Smiley be a good guy then?
Which makes trading Justin Smiley unfortunate, but necessary.