Dolphins History Lesson: Why a Jamal Adams Trade is Fantasy

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams' contract situation has led to speculation he could be traded, but it almost certainly wouldn't be to the Dolphins

The idea of sliding two-time Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams into the Dolphins secondary alongside Byron Jones, Xavien Howard and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene is tantalizing, to say the least.

And there is speculation in the Twitterverse and online that the New York Jets could reach the point where they decide to trade Adams because of his desire for a new contract.

And the rebuilding Jets likely would be looking for future draft capital. And the Dolphins still have a lot of draft capital, even after having five of the top 56 picks this year.

Cap space? The Dolphins have $14.3 million available, according to, and the ability to create more by releasing players or restructuring contracts.

So all the elements are in place for a trade.

Except for one small detail.

One very significant detail.

Teams just don't trade marquee players within their division. It simply does not happen.

At last count, there have been 22 players traded this offseason around the NFL. Exactly one of them went to another team in the same division, defensive lineman Chris Wormley from Baltimore to  Pittsburgh.

Wormley started 13 games the past two seasons, but he played 39 percent of the defensive snaps in 2018 and 46 percent last year, so he doesn't qualify as a marquee player.

The reason for the lack of intradivision trades is pretty simple: No team wants to face a star player it once had twice every season, and that's even intensified if there's animosity that leads to that trade.

Looking strictly at the AFC East, research through shows exactly five players being traded within the division since 1980.


Two of them were acquired by the Dolphins. The last one was tackle James Brown, who came over from the Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick — in 1996.

The Dolphins and Jets haven't even made a deal involving strictly draft picks since then, something they did with the Patriots in 2016.

In 1993, the Dolphins got wide receiver Irving Fryar from New England for second- and third-round picks, and Fryar delivered with Pro Bowl seasons in 1993 and 1994 before leaving as a free agent in 1996.

On the flip side, the Dolphins traded receiver/returner Wes Welker to the Patriots in 2007 in a deal that's been universally panned because of the monster numbers Welker put up in New England.

But the criticism too often avoids the obvious X-factor, Welker putting up those huge numbers playing with Tom Brady and later with Peyton Manning in Denver.

Still, Welker clearly was an emerging player in the offseason of 2007 after coming off a career-high 67-catch season, but he also was a restricted free agent.

The Dolphins placed a second-round tender on him, but New England eventually just proposed giving Miami a seventh-round selection in addition to the second-round pick and a deal was made.

With the two picks they got, the Dolphins drafted center Samson Satele in the second round and linebacker Abraham Wright in the seventh. Satele was an eight-year starter in the NFL, though the Dolphins traded him after two seasons before he returned for his final year in the league in 2014. Wright never played a down in a regular season game.

Probably the biggest AFC East trade took place in April 2002 when the Patriots sent quarterback Drew Bledsoe to the Bills for a first-round pick.

Of  course, Bledsoe had become expendable after Brady had replaced him early in the 2001 season and led New England to the Super Bowl. Bledsoe made the Pro Bowl in his first season with Buffalo but never led them to the playoffs in three seasons before he closed out his career with two years in Dallas.

The last AFC East trade involving a player occurred last year, but it's barely worth mentioning.

The Bills sent backup offensive lineman Russell Bodine to the Patriots for a conditional 2020 sixth-round pick, which they never got because Bodine was cut by New England before the start of the regular season.