The Miami Dolphins have been ravaged by injuries heading into the 2017 season, leaving several positions in the hands of unproven players. With those gaps in mind, it might prompt Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum and General Manager Chris Grier to look to the trade market for answers.
While the trade talks surrounding Jarvis Landry's availability appear to be non-serious at this point, it doesn't mean that the Dolphins should shy away from using one of their deepest positions to supplement a weaker one.
Consolidation trades have grown in popularity in the NFL in the past few years. The Dolphins and Eagles completed one such trade last season, as they took the No. 8 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft—a spot Miami felt strongly about moving down from—to add three starters in the process. The Los Angeles Rams completed a similar deal when they sacrificed depth at cornerback—along with a second-round draft pick—to acquire Sammy Watkins from the Buffalo Bills.
To get a better idea of what a theoretical trade might look like for the Dolphins, let's breakdown the positions of weakness and strength.
Positions of Weakness
Interior Offensive Line
The Dolphins have been hit hard at the guard position this summer. Ted Larsen is set to miss at least half of the season, and Miami reached an injury settlement with Kraig Urbik on Saturday. Coach Adam Gase does have options at guard, however, as Anthony Steen and Jesse Davis have looked competent in their preseason action. With the less-mobile Jay Cutler now under center, Miami might want to find a more proven player to fill the vacancy left behind by Larsen.
Along with the void at left guard, the Dolphins should invest in a interior lineman that can also play center. Mike Pouncey appears to be ready for the season, but the veteran center has missed 17 regular season games over the last three years.
Miami addressed the linebacker position over the summer by selecting Raekwon McMillan in the second round of the NFL Draft, but the rookie suffered a season-ending knee injury in his first preseason outing. With Koa Misi already out for the year, the Dolphins reached an agreement with eight-year veteran Rey Maualuga. It looks like Maualuga will need some time to get ready for action, leaving Miami's depth at linebacker dangerously thin before the start of the season.
Mike Hull and Neville Hewitt are capable backups, but the addition of outside help after losing McMillan suggests that the Dolphins aren't exactly comfortable with them becoming regular starters.
Positions of Strength
The Dolphins have one of the best wide receiver trios in the NFL, and it looks like they have a few players behind them that could contribute on a regular basis. Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Landry would all likely fetch an impressive return in a trade. Outside of the starting trio, Jakeem Grant and Damore'ea Stringfellow have shown flashes in the preseason.
If Miami was able to find a partner that met their asking price for one of their top receivers, it is possible they could bite. It would be a leap of faith to promote one of the players that are lower on the current depth chart, but the Dolphins might agree to a potential trade if it brought back multiple starters in return.
Miami will likely hang onto their depth along the line, but the emergence of rookies Davon Godchaux and Praise Martin-Oguike could make a veteran lineman expendable. Jordan Phillips and Terrence Fede will likely see their playing time reduced in 2017, making them possible bait for a deal that would address more pressing needs on the roster. Phillips' value is tricky due to issues with his consistency, but a team might be willing to roll the dice on a young player who has the potential to be a defensive anchor.
Should the Dolphins sacrifice depth at one of their stronger positions to address one of their weak spots? Tell us what you think in the comments below.