Breaking Down the Flowers Trade From All Angles

The Miami Dolphins' decision to trade guard Ereck Flowers to Washington came with all sorts of ramifications
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There are many different ways to look at the significance of the Miami Dolphins agreeing to trade guard Ereck Flowers back to the Washington Football Team, both looking back and looking forward.

The biggest reason the move was made, based on logic, was to clear cap space because otherwise getting rid of depth on the offensive line is not a good way of doing business.

But it bears repeating that if Flowers was a great offensive lineman, the Dolphins wouldn't have made this move, and certainly not for late-round draft pick compensation.

And this is where it gets tricky when you analyze this move, because while Flowers may be a serviceable at best offensive lineman, he was the one starter on the Dolphins offensive line in 2020 with the highest performance grade, based on Pro Football Focus' numbers (31st out of 80 guards grades around the NFL).

So the idea that the offensive line instantly got better by replacing Flowers simply doesn't wash.

On the flip side, there's nobody on the Dolphins offensive line who had a great year in 2020, so there's something to be said for letting the young players continue to develop and hope they reach and surpass the level of play Flowers has attained.

The idea of sliding Robert Hunt inside to right guard makes sense on a lot of levels for the Dolphins, starting with the fact that draft analysts were almost unanimous in their belief last year that his best position in the NFL was going to be guard.

As it was, Hunt showed intriguing potential at right tackle, so it certainly should be fun to see what he can do inside.

As for the left guard spot vacated by the departure of Flowers, the obvious early candidate would have to be Solomon Kindley, who started at right guard for the Dolphins last year but played left guard at the University of Georgia in 2019.

A guard tandem of Hunt and Kindley certainly would give the Dolphins a lot of beef on the interior of the offensive line.

This leaves the issue of right tackle and what it means for the idea of taking Penei Sewell with the sixth overall pick.

We warned a couple of weeks back against dismissing the idea of the Dolphins taking Sewell at that spot, even ahead of a wide receiver like LSU's JaMarr Chase because of what it could mean for the future of the offensive line.

The departure of Flowers and impending move of Hunt to guard, per Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald, has only added to that possibility.

Sure, the Dolphins could stand pat on the offensive line and go into camp with Austin Jackson as their left tackle and Jesse Davis and newcomer D.J. Fluker competing at right tackle.

But the Dolphins also could draft Sewell — or Rashawn Slater, for that matter — and make the necessary adjustments to put their best five on the line. That could mean moving Sewell to right tackle, even though he's not played that spot since high school, or moving Jackson to right tackle or something else altogether.

For those immediately countering the idea of taking Sewell because it would mean giving up on Jackson after one year, isn't that what the Dolphins just did with Flowers? Is it OK with unrestricted free agents but not draft picks?

And didn't the Dolphins give up on Josh Rosen just one year after giving up second- and fifth-round picks to get him?

This regime clearly has shown no hesitancy in looking ahead without regard to appearances. This would be another case like this.

If we're being honest, it is a bit disturbing that the Dolphins already have dumped four of their 11 unrestricted free agent pick-ups from just a year ago, not to mention the two who already have left as UFAs because they arrived on one-year contracts.

There probably aren't many folks anywhere who could have predicted that Flowers and Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson and Jordan Howard all would be gone before their second training camp with the Dolphins.

This speaks to the point we made about the Dolphins always looking ahead, though it doesn't necessarily reflect very well on their 2020 offseason shopping spree.

Even if it didn't happen this year, there seemed practically no way that Flowers was going to see his contract through based on the amount of guaranteed money on his deal, and the team had been shopping him for a bit, according to SI NFL Senior Reporter Albert Breer.

The Dolphins brought in two veteran free agents last offseason to start on the offensive line, center Ted Karras and Flowers, and now both are gone.

That's just one of the many takeaways from this Flowers move.