Jason Taylor: Now an ex-Dolphin

It's official.  Jason Taylor is now an ex-Dolphin.  That has a strange ring to it, doesn't it?  Though I guess it's no more weird than thinking of Zach Thomas as an ex-Dolphin as well.

But, really, nobody here should be surprised about this.  The only thing that is surprising is how quickly talks ignited and a deal got done following the Redskins' loss of one of their starting defensive ends.

The bottom line here is that this is a move that had to be done.  And I think Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland need to be commended.  Remember, many people thought the Dolphins were crazy for asking for a 2nd round pick in exchange for a  soon-to-be 34 year old defensive end.  Some believed the Dolphins blew it by not taking less - like a 3rd rounder - from a team like Tampa Bay or Jacksonville on draft weekend.  But Parcells and Ireland held out.  They were hoping for a team to get desperate enough to make a move for Taylor and offer up what the Dolphins considered "fair value."

After no move was made all off-season, I (like many people) figured that he could get moved either during the preseason or before the trade deadline during the regular season.  But nobody thought it would happen this quickly.  In a way, Parcells and Ireland got lucky with the Redskins losing Phillip Daniels for the season during their very first camp practice.  On the other hand, Parcells and Ireland both look like geniuses - like they knew all along that they'd get what they wanted; or so it seems.

A second round pick and a sixth round pick.  Some might say the Dolphins didn't get enough in return.  But I strongly disagree.  There was absolutely no way that the Dolphins would get a 1st round pick from any team - no matter how desperate.  I even accepted the fact that getting a 2nd rounder for Taylor was unlikely.  Even after Phillips got hurt and the Redskins were rumored to be in talks with Miami, I didn't think a 2nd rounder was feasible.  But I guess I shouldn't doubt "the trifecta" after all.

Sure, a 2nd round pick will not help the Dolphins this season.  The loss of Taylor will be an issue all year.  Where's Miami's pass rush going to come from in 2008?  Can Joey Porter become the Porter of old and be a feared pass rusher again?

Those are questions that we'll have to wait to get answered.

But looking ahead and thinking long-term, an extra 2nd round pick in 2009 will be very helpful in continuing this rebuilding process.  And that's what excites me.  This front office is thinking long-term for the first time in many, many years.  Remember all those Brett Favre to Miami rumors?  Now we can see that they were, as many of us thought, all bullsh*t.  This team isn't looking to make the playoffs in 2008.  No, they are looking to be a Super Bowl contender in 2010 or 2011.  And that's perfectly fine with me.

There's one thing I was pondering, though, that I haven't seen addressed yet.  How did the Dolphins also get a 6th rounder in 2010 thrown in?  Sure, it's not much.  But most teams don't like just giving up draft picks.  Are Parcells and Ireland that good?  Or could there have been another interested team besides Washington?  We'll never know.  But it's something to think about.

SAVING JT'S LEGACY
Another thing that this trade does is that it prevents Jason Taylor from having his Dolphin legacy totally destroyed.  Think about it: if Taylor held out of training camp on Saturday when it starts, many Dolphin fans (myself included) would have really lost some respect for Taylor.  But instead, Taylor and the Dolphins can both part ways with dignity and Dolphin fans can cherish the memories of JT - and there are many - without holding a potential hold-out against him.

Of course, his image doesn't leave fully intact.  Remember when Taylor said he planned on playing just one more season?  I guess that meant only if he was a Dolphin.  I say this because the Redskins seem to believe that Taylor will play at least 2 more seasons now that he's in Washington.  But, hey, I don't really blame him.  Now he's on a team that will battle for a play-off spot.  At least now, if he does play 2 more seasons, he'll have an even better chance at solidifying his spot in Canton - he just better go into the Hall of Fame as a Dolphin if he does get elected.  If he didn't, that would be the ultimate slap in the face.  But we'll deal with that if and when the time comes.  For now, we can just rest in peace knowing that Taylor didn't have to alienate Dolphin fans by holding out of camp this year. 

Jason, your Dolphin legacy is intact now; at least as far as I'm concerned.

HIS REPLACEMENTS
We can now add starting OLB to the list of position battles to watch once camp does kick off.  The two front-runners are Charlie Anderson and Quentin Moses.  Anderson is probably the favorite right now because Moses is much more raw.  But that could change over time.

I do like Anderson's combination of speed and strength a lot.  But he lacks experience.  And that's where the waiver wire comes in.  With the Dolphins holding the 1st position in the wavier process, they'll have first dibs on every player who has to clear waivers for all of training camp (and the first 2 or 3 weeks of the regular season, I believe).  So you can bet the Dolphins will keep an eye out for a pass-rushing OLB.

One guy that won't be a potential replacement for Taylor is 2nd round pick Phillip Merling.  Merling weighs around 295 pounds and is a prototypical DE in a 3-4 defense.  He does not possess the speed or quickness needed to play OLB.  So forget about Merling being Taylor's replacement.

Well I've said enough for now.  Share your thoughts below...

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