The Miami Dolphins have three first round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft and are widely considered in position to select Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. There are rumors, however, that the Dolphins could look to move up to the first-overall selection in an effort to pick LSU quarterback Joe Burrow or to the third-overall pick in order to ensure they land Tagovailoa. Does Miami have the assets available to make a trade up in April?
According to Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, they do. “I think we have more than enough,” he said on Wednesday when asked about the ammunition they need for a trade.
The Dolphins currently have the fifth-, 18th-, and 26th-picks in the first round, then have two more selections, the 39th- and 56th-overall, in the second round. They also hold the 70th pick, a third-round selection. They also have two picks in the fifth round (the 17th and 20th in the round), two picks in the sixth round (6th and 18th in the round), and one in the seventh (31st or 32nd depending on the Super Bowl results - Miami has the Kansas City Chiefs’ pick). The Dolphins could add up to two more compensatory draft picks, a set of 32 additional picks the NFL spreads over the ends of the third through seventh rounds to offset the loss of free agents the previous offseason.
The Dolphins also have additional 2021 early-round picks, with two first-round selections and two in the second round. They also have an additional seventh round pick next year.
While a little outdated in the era of rookie salary cap considerations, the Dallas Cowboys/Jimmy Johnson developed trade value chart has the first overall pick worth 3,000 points. The fifth pick is worth 1,700 according to the chart, meaning Miami wound need to add an additional 1,300 points to move up four spot. The 18th picks is worth 900 points, the 26th pick worth 700, the 39th worth 510, the 56th worth 340, and the 70th worth 240 points.
If Miami were trying to move up to the first pick, the value chart would suggest some combination one of the team’s additional first-round picks and another second- or third-round pick. Miami could also consider using the additional 2021 picks as part of the compensation, trying to hold on to as many of the 2020 picks as possible.
The third-overall pick, held by the Detroit Lions, is worth 2200 points, meaning Miami could trade the fifth- and 18th-picks to Detroit for the third pick to create an equal trade value - according to the chart at least.
The Dolphins could also look to trade down from the fifth spot if they would like to add additional picks this year or next.
Of course, predicting what a trade would really require in compensation is nearly impossible. If multiple teams are involved in trade talks, the price could increase. If a player like Burrow is available, the price could increase. A team could need to be blown away to even consider making the trade, especially if there is a player they really want.
Grier admitted that on Wednesday, explaining, “Every trade has been different. We look over the years at the value of what people do. You can always say you have an idea on place your value on it and then that other team may have a completely different view. And we’ve had that with other trades we’ve done in the past.”
To get an idea of exactly what a trade could entail, in 2001, the Atlanta Falcons traded from the fifth position to the first, giving the then San Diego Chargers the fifth pick, a third-round pick, and second-round pick the following year, and a player (wide receiver Tim Dwight). The Falcons selected Michael Vick with the first pick, then the Chargers selected LaDainian Tomlinson with the fifth choice.
There is also the 2012 Draft, where the Washington Redskins moved from the sixth-overall pick to the second selection to pick Robert Griffin III. In exchange for the pick, the Redskins sent the then St. Louis Rams the sixth pick, a second round pick, and their first-round picks each of the next two seasons.
Going back a little further than that 2001 trade, the Chargers traded up to the second overall pick in 1998 to add quarterback Ryan Leaf. They moved up one spot in that selection process, but sent the Arizona Cardinals the third-pick, a second-round pick, a first-round pick the next season, and two players (wide receiver Eric Metcalf and linebacker Patrick Sapp) to make that move.
More recently, the New York Jets moved up to the third pick in the 2018 Draft to select Sam Darnold. To make the move, they sent the Indianapolis Colts the sixth-overall pick along with two second-round selection that year and a second-round pick the next year.
In 2017, the Chicago Bears made the one-position trade-up move, going from third to second in the selection process. They gave the San Francisco 49ers the third-overall pick along with a third- and fourth-round selection to be able to select Mitchell Trubisky.
In 2016, the Los Angeles Rams moved up from the 15th position to the first-overall spot to select Jared Goff. They sent the Tennessee Titans their first-round pick, two second-round picks, and a third-round pick that year, plus a first- and third-round selection the next year. The Rams received back the first overall pick, as well as a fourth- and sixth-round pick.
That same year, the Philadelphia Eagles moved up to second overall to select Carson Wentz, trading with the Cleveland Browns. The Eagles sent their first-round choice (eighth overall) as well as a third- and fourth-round selection in 2016 plus their first-round 2017 pick and their second-round 2018 pick to Cleveland in exchange for the second pick in 2016 and a conditional 2017 fifth-round selection.
The Dolphins made a trade in the 2013 Draft with the then Oakland Raiders, moving up from the 12th pick to the third-overall spot, selecting Dion Jordan with the selection. In exchange for the move, the Dolphins provided the Raiders with the 12th pick as well as a second-round selection.
Trading early picks in the Draft is not unusual, but it can be costly. If they want to make a move, the Dolphins have to ensure they are not bidding against themselves, and they have to make sure they really are willing to pay whatever the price-tag would be for the move. Would adding one player - even if it is a potential star quarterback like Burrow or Tagovailoa - be worth the players they could not select from the multiple picks they would need to trade? Miami has a lot of holes on their roster right now, and multiple picks could be used to fill them with young talent.
Whatever decision the Dolphins make, Grier is right, they do have “move than enough” assets to pull off a trade.