Right after the 2012 season ended, rumors began to spread that the Dolphins had become disenchanted with Davone Bess. Per Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post, Bess had a back injury that kept him out of the final few games of the 2012 season, but the front office felt Bess could have played despite claiming he could not.
In free agency, in addition to making the widely expected signings of Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, the Dolphins also signed Brandon Gibson, who was viewed as a solid third wide receiver, potentially bumping Davone Bess to 4th on the depth chart.
Now, on the day before the draft, Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Cleveland Browns are seriously considering a trade for Davone Bess. Then, Volin confirmed independently that trade talks between the Browns and Dolphins are ongoing, though the sides remain far apart for now. In addition to the rumored "friction" that developed late last season, it's possible that the $3.4 million in cap savings that comes from trading Davone Bess might be another motivating factor if rumors are true that the Dolphins have agreed to give Branden Albert elite offensive tackle money in a new contract.
What Does Mean for the Draft?
1. Wide receiver - particularly one adept at operating in the slot - becomes a more likely draft pick in the early to mid-rounds than it was before. Tavon Austin, Ryan Swope, Steadman Bailey, and Connor Vernon are names worth knowing.
2. Jensen reports that the compensation being discussed is a "mid-round" pick, so it's possible the Dolphins could be armed with an extra 3rd, 4th, or 5th round pick on draft day.
3. However, just because Jensen hears mid-round picks are being discussed doesn't mean that's the only potential compensation on the table. Davone Bess could be part of a trade package that allows the Dolphins to move up in the draft. I say that because several weeks ago, it was rumored the Dolphins were involved in trade discussions with the Browns to move up to the #6 overall pick. The belief back then was the the trade rumors centered around moving the Dolphins into position to take an offensive tackle like Lane Johnson. However, with the Branden Albert trade discussions progressing to the point where multiple sources are reporting that the Dolphins have agreed to meet Albert's contract demands, offensive tackle is less likely to be a target of the Dolphins in the event of a trade up in round 1.
4. Jensen reports the Browns are just one of "several" teams potentially interested. Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald believes that due to the reported interest in Bess, it'd be "more of a surprise" if Bess is not traded at this point, since the Dolphins are likely to find a partner who meets their trade demands.
It should be an exciting draft for Dolphins fans, as the front office has already shown a willingness to trade players/picks pre-draft to get pieces that fit their overall strategy. Expect an active night.