Dolphins History Lesson: Trading Former First-Round Picks

The Miami Dolphins have ended up trading almost a fourth of their all-time first-round picks
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The reported trade of Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and three draft picks involved two former first-round picks, which is part of what made it so interesting.

It continued a trend around the NFL of teams trading their former first-round picks for various reasons, and over the past two years no team has done more often than the Miami Dolphins.

RELATED: How the Stafford Trade Might (Or Might Not) Impact the Dolphins

And that's certainly important to keep in mind if the Houston Texans decide they have no choice but to trade Deshaun Watson and the Miami Dolphins decide to make a pitch for the Pro Bowl quarterback's services.

Getting Watson very well might entail having to trade quarterback Tua Tagovailoa one year after the Dolphins made him the fifth overall selection in the draft, but Chris Grier and Brian Flores have shown they're not afraid of making big moves.

Tua Tagovailoa

How not afraid?

How about this: Since 2019, there have been 18 trades (not including the Goff-Stafford swap) where a team traded one of its former first-round picks. The Dolphins have been involved in four of them, twice as many as anybody else.

The four former Dolphins first-round picks traded over the past two years (since Flores took over as head coach): QB Ryan Tannehill, LT Laremy Tunsil, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick and DE Charles Harris.

Of course, there were different circumstances involved in each deal, but the point remains that Grier and Flores aren't afraid of making bold moves.

In the case of Tannehill, it was simply time to move on from the quarterback after seven seasons. With Tunsil, this was a case of the Houston Texans simply offering a return package too good to pass up. The issue with Fitzpatrick came down to a conflict that couldn't be resolved. And Harris basically was dumped after not producing enough in his first three seasons.

Even though Tunsil has made the Pro Bowl in his two seasons with Houston, there's no way to do anything but like that trade from a Dolphins standpoint considering the return, which includes the third overall pick in the upcoming 2021 draft.

The Fitzpatrick trade isn't looking good at this time because he earned All-Pro honors for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019 and 2020, but it's too soon to make a final determination on it until we get further into the career of Austin Jackson, who the Dolphins selected with the first-round pick they got for Fitzpatrick.

The Fitzpatrick trade is one of two around the NFL since the start of 2019 involving a first-round pick with less than two full years with his team. The other also involved the Dolphins: the acquisition of quarterback Josh Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals in 2019 after they had made him the 10th overall selection in the 2018 draft.

It's also important to note that the Dolphins historically haven't shied away from trading a former first-round pick early in his career. Fitzpatrick is one of five players traded less than two years after being in the first round by the Dolphins.

RELATED: Memorable Trades in Dolphins History

The others are DT Mike Kadish, traded in 1973 after being a first-round pick in 1972; WR Randal Hill, who actually was traded after one game as a rookie first-round pick in 1991; T Billy Milner, traded in October 1996 after being a first-round pick in 1995; and RB John Avery, traded in 1999 after being a first-round pick in 1998.

Overall, the Dolphins have traded 13 players after drafting them in the first round. Along with  the previously mentioned names, the list includes cornerback Vontae Davis, receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr., cornerback Jamar Fletcher, running back Sammie Smith and tackle Darryl Carlton.

Here's the full rundown of trades involving players the Dolphins had selected as first-round picks (in reverse chronological order):

May 1, 2020 — 2017 first-round pick Charles Harris traded to Atlanta for a 2021 seventh-round pick.

Sept. 17, 2019 — 2018 first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick traded to Pittsburgh (along with a 2020 fourth-round pick and a 2021 seventh-round pick) for a 2020 first-round pick, a 2020 fifth-round pick and a 2021 sixth-round pick.

Sept. 1,  2019 — 2016 first-round pick Laremy Tunsil traded to Houston (along with WR Kenny Stills, a fourth-round pick in 2020 and a sixth-round pick in 2021) for first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, a second-round pick in 2021, T Julien Davenport and DB Johnson Bademosi.

March 15, 2019 — 2012 first-round pick Ryan Tannehill traded to Tennessee (along with a 2019 sixth-round pick) for a seventh-round pick in 2019 and a fourth-round pick in 2020.

Aug. 26, 2012 — 2009 first-round pick Vontae Davis traded to Indianapolis for a 2013 second-round pick.

April 16, 2010 — 2007 first-round pick Ted Ginn Jr. traded to San Francisco for a 2010 fifth-round pick.

March 18, 2004 — 2001 first-round pick Jamar Fletcher traded to San Diego (along with a 2005 sixth-round pick) for WR David Boston.

Sept. 21, 1999 — 1998 first-round pick John Avery traded to Denver for WR Marcus Nash.

Oct. 1, 1996 — 1995 first-round pick Billy Milner traded to St. Louis for TE Troy Drayton.

May 26, 1992 — 1989 first-round pick Sammie Smith traded to Denver for RB Bobby Humphrey.

Sept. 3, 1991 — 1991 first-round pick Randal Hill traded to Phoenix for a 1992 first-round pick.

Aug. 8, 1977 — 1975 first-round pick Darryl Carlton traded to Tampa Bay for T Mike Current and a 1978 fifth-round pick.

Aug. 27, 1973 — 1972 first-round pick Mike Kadish traded to Buffalo for C/G Irv Goode.