Following the Dolphins' 59-10 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported "multiple Dolphins players contacted their agents after Sunday's season-opening blowout loss and directed them to attempt to engineer trades elsewhere."
According to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, Miami denied any player had formally requested a trade.
Florio added some of the players think the coaches "aren't serious about competing and winning and, by all appearances, have bought into the notion that the Dolphins will take their lumps now in the hopes of laying the foundation via high draft picks for building a successful team later."
While not to the scale that fans witnessed Sunday, a lopsided result was entirely predictable in Week 1. The Dolphins turned over the roster to a drastic extent and then traded Kenny Stills and Laremy Tunsil with the regular season seven days away.
Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz
You can longer argue the Dolphins are going only halfway on this rebuild/tank job.They've dumped their best QB,best OT,arguably best WR&RB,two best DEs & 2nd best S from last year's team. Could dump best LB from 2018 (Alonso). So at least they're not going halfway.They're all in!
The Miami Herald's Adam H. Beasley reported the team risked facing a "revolt" inside the locker room in the event Tunsil got dealt.
Tanking is common in the NBA and is growing in popularity in MLB as franchises become more and more willing to throw in the towel in hopes of success down the line.
The strategy hasn't caught on in the NFL to the same extent for a few reasons.
For one, the level of parity throughout the league means a team can go from moribund to a title contender in a few years. The Los Angeles Rams finished 4-12 in 2016 and were playing in the Super Bowl two seasons later. In short, a total rebuild isn't as easy to sell to a fanbase.
The players may not be as keen to get on board, either. Guaranteed contracts in MLB and the NBA mean a player knows he's getting paid regardless of the team's performance. That financial security isn't present in the NFL.
Along with that, effectively wasting a year of your career is tougher in football, where career longevity and long-term health are far bigger concerns.
Assuming they are making a concerted effort to tank, the Dolphins' strategy is understandable.
They've made two playoff appearances since 2001 in large part because they haven't committed to any sort of long-term plan. Ten quarterbacks have finished as the team's leading passer during that span.
Miami could be patient and give 22-year-old Josh Rosen plenty of time to develop, or it can try to be as bad as possible to increase the chances of landing Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft.
Either strategy would represent an upgrade over the last two decades.
But Florio's report outlined how the Dolphins are bound to face growing pains as they start lining up their pieces for the future.