Dolphins Trade Topics a Week Before the Deadline

Alain Poupart

The NFL trading deadline is a little more than a week away — Nov. 3, to be precise — so names of veterans potentially on the move keep popping up.

One of those veterans happens to be Miami Dolphins veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who suddenly is seen as a good short-term answer for teams with issues at quarterback in light of his demotion in favor of rookie Tua Tagovailoa.

Fitzpatrick has performed well this season and there certainly are teams around the league who could use some help at quarterback, most notably the Dallas Cowboys. Already withouth starter Dak Prescott, out for the season with his nasty lower-leg injury, the Cowboys saw veteran Andy Dalton knocked out of their game against Washington on Sunday when he was on the receiving end of a cheap shot by linebacker Jon Bostic at the end of a scramble and slide.

Dalton's injury immediately brought up the idea of the Cowboys perhaps being interested in making a trade for Fitzpatrick because even though they're 2-5 on the season, they're only half a game out of first place in the putrid NFC East and owner Jerry Jones always has grandiose goals for his team.

NFL reporter Dov Kleiman suggested that not only would the Cowboys make sense as a trade partner, but that also the New England Patriots could use somebody like Fitzpatrick after a rough outing by Cam Newton in an ugly 33-6 loss against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

But the idea of the Dolphins making the kind of deal that could help New England rebound seems impossible to fathom.

Even with the Cowboys, though, one has to wonder why the Dolphins would even investigate the idea of trading Fitzpatrick considering the great insurance policy he represents as the new backup to Tagovailoa, not to mention how valuable he'll continue to be as a mentor.

And we understand that Fitzpatrick was unhappy about his demotion, but he's always been the consummate team player and it's just silly to expect him to all of a sudden become a problem because he was yanked as the starter despite playing well.

Really, the only way the Dolphins should even give a second of thought to the idea of trading Fitzpatrick is if they're blown away by a trade offer, and it's truly hard to envision any team offering anything more than a late-round pick for a soon-to-be 38-year-old quarterback.

Now, when it comes to players the Dolphins actually would consider trading, the name that jumps out obviously is running back Jordan Howard.

Some seven months after being signed as an unrestricted free agent, Howard has become a non-factor, having been made inactive each of the past two games.

The problem with trying to trade Howard, who maybe could interest a team looking for a short-yardage back and thinking he needs a change of scenery after a bad start in Miami, is his contract.

Howard signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins that calls for $4.75 million in guaranteed salary this season, according to overthecap.com. Any team acquiring Howard in a trade would be on the hook for the prorated portion of that salary, which makes him less than desirable given his production (18 carries, 14 yards) this season.

But given Howard's contract and his status on the team, the Dolphins likely wouldn't ask for much in return. They actually might have to give up something to make a team take on his contract, much like what happened last year with Aqib Talib.

Remember, the Dolphins gave up a seventh-round pick to acquire Talib AND a fifth-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams at the trade deadline to basically take the former Pro Bowl cornerback's contract off the hands of the Rams.

And, sure enough, Talib remained on injured reserve after coming to Miami and never played a down for the Dolphins before retiring this offseason.

Ironically, the one team on the surface that makes the most sense to call and ask about Howard is the one he left this offseason — the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Eagles are in a tight cap situation, so they may be hesitant to take on Howard's contract.

The Dolphins did trade away one player last year around the deadline, and that was running back Kenyan Drake, who was sent to Arizona for a fifth-round pick. Drake was dealt because he was an impending free agent who likely was headed for a departure anyway and this enabled the Dolphins to at least get something for him.

There doesn't appear to be anybody in that kind of situation this season, so it could be that the Dolphins will hang on to all their players at this trading deadline.

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