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Thoughts on the Grant Trade

The Dolphins moved on from one of their longest-tenured players when they sent Grant to the Chicago Bears

Judging by an unscientific survey of the reaction on Twitter, the Miami Dolphins' decision to trade receiver/returner Jakeem Grant to the Chicago Bears on Tuesday was a popular move with the fan base.

Make that very popular.

If we're being honest, it also seemed over-the-top harsh.

There's no disputing the validity of the trade, even if the Dolphins only got a 2023 sixth-round pick in return, because it was clear that Grant had outlived his usefulness with the Dolphins.

Despite his annual pronouncement to the contrary, Grant always was and almost assuredly always will be just a returner at the NFL level because his hands simply aren't dependable enough as a wide receiver — not to mention that his lack of size makes him a major durability question with extended playing time.

And his value diminished greatly once the NFL decided to change the kickoff rule to move the kicking spot from the 30 to the 35, dramatically increasing the number of touchbacks in the process. Against the Indianapolis Colts, for example, Grant didn't return a single kickoff because all six of Rodrigo Blankenship's kickoffs ended up in the end zone.

So when Grant muffed a punt in the third quarter to give the Colts a free three points, two weeks after losing a fumble near the Buffalo goal line on a rare snap on offense, it almost felt like the writing was on the wall.

Remember, the Dolphins have seven wide receivers on the roster, and because of that Preston Williams has ended up on the inactive list each of the past two games.

And even with Will Fuller out with a broken finger, the Dolphins absolutely still can make do with DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Albert Wilson, Mack Hollins and Williams.

So, yeah, absolutely no problem with this trade.

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But was there really a need for all the shots Grant took on social media on his way out? Can we also not appreciate what he did accomplish with the Dolphins during his time in South Florida?

Are we forgetting about the five kick returns for touchdowns, which, oh by the way, are a franchise record?

You remember those, right? Like the punt return last year against the Los Angeles Rams, which helped the Dolphins win in Tua Tagovailoa's NFL starting debut despite the fact he threw for only 93 yards?

Or maybe the kickoff return against the Tennessee Titans in the 2018 season opener forever known for being the longest game in NFL history?

Fact is, yes, Grant dropped some passes. Yes, he muffed some punts and had some fumbles, but that shouldn't erase the good things he did.

Let's put it this way: If Grant isn't the greatest return in franchise history, he belongs in the conversation.

Grant's five returns for touchdowns are two more than Ted Ginn Jr. and Freddie Solomon, who are tied for second on the team's all-time list.

But maybe you liked Ginn better as a returner. OK, that's fine, but don't forget then that Ginn was the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft.

Grant joined the Dolphins as a sixth-round pick in 2016, and it says here that became a tremendous value pick for the franchise. He doesn't belong in the same category as Ed Newman, Doug Betters and Reggie Roby when it comes to all-time great Dolphins sixth-round picks, but he might be right up there with Yeremiah Bell near the top of the second tier.

As we wrote earlier Tuesday, Grant probably lasted a bit longer with the Dolphins than most analysts projected, particularly after the additions of Fuller and Waddle in the offseason combined with the return of Wilson from his opt-out. And his departure is absolutely not a surprise in the least.

Dolphins fans have the right to be happy he's gone because of his recent struggles, but they also shouldn't forget about his past successes.