Different Angles of the Big Dolphins Trades

The Miami Dolphins shook up the top of the first round of the 2021 NFL draft with a couple of trades
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The Miami Dolphins were responsible for shaking up the top of the 2021 NFL draft with the two trades they pulled off with the 49ers and Eagles, and now that the dust has settled it's a good time to fully analyze and assess the moves.

The Dolphins' two trades, reported a short time apart, were made in tandem with an understanding there was an understanding with the Eagles before the move to trade with the 49ers was done, per the Monday Morning Quarterback report by SI NFL Reporter Albert Breer.

That's almost a shame, though, because the first Dolphins trade Friday was a lot more favorable than the second.

The trade with the 49ers actually was incredible from the Miami standpoint.

Getting two extra first-round picks along with a third-round selection for moving from third to 12th in the first round made it an absolute steal for Miami, particularly when you compare it to what the Dolphins had to give the Raiders to make the exact same jump eight years ago.

Yes, the Dion Jordan trade.

Everybody remembers how badly that pick panned out for the Dolphins at number 3, but how many remember that all it cost them to jump from 12 to 3 was a second-round pick (42nd overall) in that same 2013 draft.

One second-round pick to move up those nine spots. Compared to two first-round picks and a third-rounder? Wow!

Yes, one draft is ripe is high-profile quarterback prospects and the other was the opposite, but still the difference in return for the draft position switch is eye-opening.

In fact, there is not one media analyst, pundit or fan who would argue that the Dolphins made out like crazy in their trade with the 49ers.

The trade with the Eagles? Not so much.

If getting two extra No. 1s to move down nine spots was a great deal for Miami, giving up a 1 and swapping a 4 for a 5 (on the negative side) to move up from 12 to 6 certainly wasn't a clear win for the Dolphins.

At best, it's a wash.

The closest trade equivalent that came up was a 2012 deal between the Cowboys and Panthers that saw Dallas move up from 14 to 6 for only the price of a second-round pick.

But then you look at the totality of the two moves and see the Dolphins moving down from 3 to 6 and giving up a fourth for a fifth this year, and in return getting a 2022 third-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick, and it doesn't seem like a great "combined" trade in terms of value.

Because there's a recent comp, and that's the Colts making the exact same switch with the Jets in 2018 so the New York could draft Sam Darnold.

In that deal, the Colts received three second-round picks, two in 2018 and one in 2019. That sure seems better than a third-round pick in one year and a first-round pick two years down the road.

But then there's still this other way of looking at it, and that's the idea that the Dolphins very well could be targeting the same player or two at 6 that they were at 3 and that they picked up the free premium picks — even if they're not in the 2021 draft.

RELATED: Ranking the Dolphins Draft Options at Number 6

In that sense, it's hard to complain about the Dolphins' dual moves.

It does, however, go against a philosophy that GM Chris Grier once explained to the media: "I'd rather have three really good players than one maybe great player."

If volume is preferable to trying to land that one difference-maker, then the move would have been to just stick with the one Eagles trade.

The Dolphins obviously believe that the one player they can get at 6 can make a significantly greater impact than anybody they could have gotten at 12.

Unless, of course, the Dolphins just positioned themselves to trade down again with a team that could be looking for that quarterback prospect — assuming they don't go first, second, third, fourth and fifth.

But then again, would the Dolphins get the same kind of return from the Eagles to move back down again. And if not, what was the point of the second trade in the first place?

From here, it appears a lot more likely that the whole point of the two trades was simply to be able to pick up extra assets while still maintaining the likelihood of landing one of the players the Dolphins have targeted.