Blockbusters! Dolphins trade away third pick but stockpile continues

Joe Schad
Palm Beach Post
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Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier speaks during a news conference.

The Dolphins have completed blockbuster trades with the 49ers and Eagles, a league source said Friday.

Miami traded the third pick in the next NFL Draft to San Francisco, in exchange for the 12th pick, two future first-rounders and a future third-rounder.

In order to move down, the Dolphins picked up first rounders from the Niners in 2022 and 2023. They also added a third-rounder in 2022.

But the Dolphins followed up that move with another massive trade. Miami moved back up to the sixth pick in April's Draft by yielding a 2022 first-rounder to the Eagles along with the 12th pick.

There was also an exchange of later-round picks in 2021. 

What does it all mean?

Firstly, it means the Dolphins maximized the value of the third pick, which they acquired because of a shrewd trade of Laremy Tunsil to the Texans two years ago.

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If Miami hadn't made that trade, they would not be in the position of strength they are today. The Dolphins will have the ability to add a weapon such as Ja'Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith with the sixth pick, as quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson should be selected earlier.

And by maneuvering down and back up in a series of thrilling moves on Friday, they were able to pick up a second first-round pick in 2023.

In summary:

  • In 2020, the Dolphins held three first-rounders, which they used on QB Tua Tagovailoa, OT Austin Jackson and CB Noah Igbinoghene.
  • In 2021, the Dolphins will hold two first-rounders, the sixth and 18th picks. It seems obvious they might target a receiver as well as a running back, edge rusher or tight end.
  • In 2022, the Dolphins will hold at least one first-rounder. They also hold the 49ers third-rounder in this draft.
  • In 2023, the Dolphins are slated to hold two first-rounders, their own and one acquired from the 49ers. This gives the Dolphins flexibility, in what would be Tagovailoa's fourth season.

By moving back from three to six in April's draft, Miami also picked up some salary cap flexibility, as that third pick would have required a higher rookie salary.

The 49ers might use the third pick on a quarterback. But that's not of Miami's concern. What the club felt was the time was right to make a trade that benefits the franchise as part of a strategic and long-term, layered rebuilding plan.

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