The Jamal Adams Trade and How It Relates to the Dolphins
It was hard not to think about the Miami Dolphins when news came out of the trade of two-time Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks.
Actually, there were similarities to two trades made by the Dolphins less than a year ago, the one that involved tackle Laremy Tunsil and the one that involved another safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The Jets sent Adams along with a fourth-round pick to Seattle in exchange for two first-round picks, a third-round selection and safety Bradley McDougald.
So how do the trades compare, and how did the Dolphins make out in comparison to the Jets since they were the team trading away a star player?
Let's start with the Tunsil trade, which was similar because — as with Adams — it involved a player heading into his fourth NFL season and it involved a return with two first-round picks.
Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills went to Houston along with a 2020 fourth-round pick and a 2021 sixth-round selection for first-round pick in 2020, first- and second-round picks in 2021, defensive back Johnson Bademosi and tackle Julién Davenport.
Of course, Tunsil is a tackle, which is a more valuable position than a safety, though the argument could be made that Adams is more than just a safety because of his all-around skill set.
Like Adams, Tunsil was looking for a big second contract, which he eventually received from the Texans after the trade.
In terms of draft pick compensation, the Dolphins did very well when looking at the Adams trade because of the second-round pick, though that's negated somewhat by the inclusion of Stills — a very solid wide receiver — in the trade.
Tunsil made the Pro Bowl last year, but you wouldn't find many talent evaluators who would suggest he's better at tackle than Adams is at safety.
So the Dolphins did comparatively well in that trade, even though it left them looking for a left tackle. Tunsil made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2019, but he led the NFL in penalties and an argument could be made that he actually was better in 2018 with the Dolphins.
For the Dolphins, the quality of the trade eventually will come down to what they do with the premium picks because Bademosi was cut after four games last year and Davenport was mediocre at best in his eight starts last year (including seven at left tackle). That's one area where the Jets also did better than the Dolphins because McDougald is a much more established player than Bademosi or Davenport were.
With their first of those three premium picks, the Dolphins took Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene after moving down from the 26th selection that belonged to Houston to 30th.
As it relates to Fitzpatrick, the trades were similar not only because of the identical position but also because it involved two players who wanted to be traded — albeit for different reasons.
Fitzpatrick was sent to the Steelers after the second game of the 2019 season in exchange for a first-round pick that was used to select tackle Austin Jackson.
As it turned out, Fitzpatrick and Adams were the two safeties on the AP All-Pro team last year after Fitzpatrick came up with five interceptions and two fumble recoveries after he was traded to Pittsburgh.
So a normal initial reaction would be to suggest the Dolphins got far too little in return for Fitzpatrick, based on what the Jets got for Adams.
The first counterargument is that, although he was a first-round pick like Adams, Fitzpatrick wasn't established as an NFL star at the time of his trade the way Adams was.
Fitzpatrick had a solid rookie season for the Dolphins in 2018, but nothing to suggest he was a slam-dunk future Pro Bowl selection. And in the first two games of 2019, there were mixed results because he struggled against Baltimore before having a good game against New England.
Fitzpatrick got into the perfect situation in Pittsburgh, which had stars everywhere on defense but just needed a playmaking center fielder to complete that unit.
And as good as Fitzpatrick was last year for the Steelers, the best player on that defense was T.J. Watt and a strong argument could be made that the second-best was Cameron Heyward.
This is not to downplay Fitzpatrick's ability because he's clearly a talented player and the Dolphins will regret not having made things work out in Miami, only to indicate that Fitzpatrick didn't have nearly the same trade value as Adams.
Having said that, one can't help but wonder whether the Dolphins could have gotten more than merely a first-round pick.
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Alain Poupart has covered the Miami Dolphins on a full-time basis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @apoupartFins.