Miami Dolphins Face Drawbacks in Pursuing Jonathan Taylor Trade | Miami New Times


5 Reasons the Miami Dolphins Shouldn't Trade for Jonathan Taylor

Given the Dolphins' already strong backfield, a marquee trade for Jonathan Taylor might make for a Pyrrhic victory.
Jonathan Taylor takes the field  on November 20, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Jonathan Taylor takes the field on November 20, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images
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If you thought the Miami Dolphins were done reloading their roster before the team's September 10 season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers, think again. Miami isn't only mildly interested in disgruntled Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor — they've reportedly already made an offer to acquire him before Week 1.

Rumors of the Dolphins' interest in Taylor, one of the best tailbacks in the NFL, is just the latest sign that general manager Chris Grier is willing to go all out for a star-studded roster. Whether it be trading for Tyreek Hill last offseason or Jalen Ramsey this offseason, he's proven keen on building a Super Bowl team today by trading away assets of tomorrow.

While his talent is evident, compelling arguments exist that trading for Taylor is a bridge too far in Grier's quest to build the best roster money can buy. Here are five glaring issues with the Dolphins reeling in another whale.

Lack of Draft Capital

The Miami Dolphins are already facing a capital shortage for the 2024 NFL Draft. Missing a third- and fourth-round pick is rough, particularly given their roster composition. The team relies on a top-heavy structure with significant contracts, requiring GM Grier and upper management to make the rest of the shrinking salary cap space go as far as possible.

The NFL Draft is the most cost-effective way to find talent. If Miami is required to send out a top pick in 2024 or both of their remaining top picks, it will make filling out the roster much harder. And the going only gets that much tougher as a handful of Dolphins already on the roster will soon require big contracts of their own.

Running Back Room

Miami's running backs are already formidable. The group rushed for a combined 1,686 rushing yards in 2022. This is not a weakness on the roster. Far from it.

The duo of Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson did damage last season, and it's now complemented by the lightning-fast rookie Devon Achane. Add to that the insurance of having former starter Myles Gaskin, and the Dolphins stand to gain little from trading for Taylor regarding overall production.

Bottom line — there is only one football, and what an NFL running back does with the pigskin sometimes has less to do with his talent than it does with the talent resting in the offensive line in front of him. Taylor is an undeniable talent in his position, but the Dolphins are already faring well above average at what he provides.

Cap Conundrums

Projected to surpass the salary cap limit by tens of millions next year, the Dolphins face some critical decisions. The move to acquire Jonathan Taylor would involve a substantial new contract with big guaranteed money attached to it, potentially jeopardizing the team's ability to re-sign less flashy but still critical free agents such as Pro Bowl defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, defensive anchor Zach Sieler, and offensive lineman Connor Williams.

Taylor is great, but Dolphins management should consider the holes that will be left in the roster if they trade for him. As stated, the Dolphins don't have draft picks to burn in 2024. Improvements would have to come cheap.

Short-Term Gain vs. Long-Term Strategy

While Jonathan Taylor could undoubtedly help mount a Super Bowl run, the Dolphins must consider the long-term repercussions of such a trade. Running backs in the NFL live up to the league's "Not for Long" career narrative more than any other position, and even the top backs end up on the unemployment line soon enough. Ezekiel Elliott — arguably the ultimate running back in the NFL just a handful of seasons ago — recently signed a one-year, prove-your-worth deal with the Patriots.

Though he's only three seasons deep into his NFL career, Taylor's effectiveness could dwindle over time due to aging or injuries. Investing long-term in his services when the backfield is already strong seems like a risky idea.

Reserving Funds

During the long NFL season, shit happens. When it comes to the Dolphins offensive line, it's already happening. Terron Armstead recently went down with an injury scare, and even though he seems to have dodged a long-term bullet and is soon to return, he is known for having a history of injuries.

The hopes and dreams of the Dolphins team rest on the shoulders of Tua Tagovailoa, a quarterback one concussion away from retirement and backed up by former seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson and Jets back-up journeyman Mike White, neither of whom is a surefire answer if called upon to play for an extended period.

There will come a time this season when the Dolphins will need money to slap duct tape on an issue, and writing a massive check at this point to improve what is already a strong backfield would be a short-sighted move. While the thought of the Dolphins trading for Jonathan Taylor is exciting, building and maintaining a competitive, balanced team necessitates making strategic choices that align with immediate and long-term objectives.

Trading for Taylor may be the sexy move, but restraint may pay off in the long run.
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