I'm starting this thread as an open forum for people to suggest potential trade targets for the Miami Dolphins at the wide receiver position.
I've always maintained that with 6 picks in the top 115 of the draft, with a heavy need in certain areas, and especially with Jeff Ireland's history of trades...that a trade is very likely this off season. And not a minor Tim Dobbins add-in, but a relatively a sizable trade.
The immediate position that everyone will think of for a trade will be wide receiver. And not without cause.
Back in 2010 while we all sat here and obsessed over the Dez Bryant question, this front office was hatching a trade for Brandon Marshall. They zigged, we expected a zag. By draft day, Dez Bryant wasn't even an issue anymore. Meanwhile, Jeff Ireland has never spent more than a 3rd round pick on a draft wide receiver, going back to his days in Dallas as well as his days in Miami.
The picture this paints is of a General Manager that doesn't trust rookie receivers when he's got a hefty need. Hence the speculation about Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace.
But while everyone thinks Mike Wallace is their top target, I find that unlikely. It's not in Jeff Ireland's nature to overpay for a player, nor is it in Joe Philbin's nature to have a $12 million dollar a year wide receiver on his depth chart demanding 150+ targets a season otherwise you're not getting even close to your money's worth.
So anyway back to the original point, IF you were to assume the Dolphins to be targeting a wide receiver that they would have to TRADE for...who would it be?
Please, in the interests of INTELLIGENT discussion, try and actually give some manner of rationale as to
A) Why you think that player is available, and
B) Why the Dolphins would be interested.
Most Likely: Miles Austin, Dallas
Why is he available? The Cowboys have a BAD taste in their mouth from their decision to give Miles Austin a 7 year, $54 million contract in 2010. Part of the reason is because their misguided decision to pay nearly all of his "signing bonus" in the form of a 1st year salary during the uncapped year resulted in the Cowboys being penalized severely by Roger Goodell. But also, they've now paid Austin something along the lines of $27 million for three injury-plagued years. The production hasn't been terrible, 2567 yards and 20 TDs in 3 years. But all the minor and major injuries have been an annoyance. He's got $30.5 million remaining over the next 4 years, although I don't think his 2016 salary was ever meant to be paid. With the emergence of Dez Bryant, Dwayne Harris and Kevin Ogletreee, as well as the really BAD shape the Cowboys are in from a salary cap perspective...they may look to unload him. This is a unique situation in that the Cowboys would not have to actually eat a lot of signing bonus were they to unload Austin. As I said they paid him $17.1 million of his "guaranteed" money in the form of a 1st year salary. That doesn't get spread out over the life of the contract. They tried to eat that number during the uncapped year so that the rest of Austin's contract would be discounted. The NFL punished them for that. Their punishment stands regardless of whether Austin is still on roster or not. According to Spotrac, there's $4.7 million of "guaranteed" money that has yet to be expensed, but I'm not sure I trust that number. There may not be any. So trading Austin away would result in a net savings on the 2013 salary cap, and bigger savings in 2014 & 2015.
Why would the Dolphins be interested? Jeff Ireland helped find Miles Austin as an undrafted free agent. He also made a trade offer for Austin back in I believe 2009. The trade fell through and then Austin broke out with like 1300 yards and 10+ TDs. Though there is $30.5 million remaining on Austin's contract, $11.4 million of it is in the 4th and final year. That salary was never meant to be paid. If the Dolphins trade for Austin, they could cut him at any time with no salary cap penalties. His salaries over the next 3 years total up to $19.1 million, about $6.4 million per year. This is the money Brian Hartline hopes to be paid, but Miles Austin's contract would involve no guaranteed money (therefore less risky than Hartline's contract) and Miles Austin has flat OUTPRODUCED Hartline in every way over the last three years, even injured. Austin has caught for nearly 2600 yards and 20 TDs. Hartline has 2250 yards and 3 TDs. Also, this system appreciates versatility in its wide receivers. Miles Austin has that. He's been a 70% slot player the last two seasons in Dallas, so you know he can work the slot. But do you want him to? Not that much. You could make a big argument that he's been played in the slot too often in Dallas. He only averaged 1.18 yards per pass snap in the slot in 2012, versus 2.73 yards per pass snap on the perimeter. He's a big, fast, athletic receiver. He needs to be working the perimeter more often. Miami has Davone Bess to work the slot. So while it's nice that Austin can work the slot, having him work LESS in the slot should actually make him more productive. The big sticking point with Austin is obviously the injuries. But, Jeff Ireland has shown in the past he's willing to take a chance on injury cases, like Justin Smiley, Jake Grove and Chad Pennington. With Dallas looking like they want to unload Austin, there's a possibility he would come cheap, and Miami has 6 picks in the top 115 of this Draft.
Runners Up: Nate Washington (TEN) & Jeremy Maclin (PHI)