The Miami Dolphins reportedly grew frustrated with 2016 breakout star running back Jay Ajayi, but trading him for a fourth-round pick was a mistake
Finally, the NFL is giving us some fun at the trade deadline. After seeing a potential star quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo get moved late Monday night, the league was back at it again on Tuesday. The big headline early was the unexpected move by the Miami Dolphins who traded away running back Jay Ajayi.
The third-year back was sent to the Philadelphia Eagles, for a mere fourth-round pick. That move came from nowhere, and the compensation is a head scratcher given that Ajayi finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yards last season.
Now, let’s give credit where it is due — this was a great move by the Eagles, who made an already strong roster even better. As for Miami, this made absolutely no sense even if the reports of Ajayi being an issue in the locker room are true.
In spite of any issues the team had with Ajayi, he was one of the few players they have that can take over a game. We saw that last season when he burst onto the scene with back-to-back games of 200-plus yards rushing. That came after he was upset about not being named the starter to begin the year, and was even left off the active roster at one point for his attitude.
They were able to reach him a season ago, and that led to a great turnaround from a 1-4 start to a 10-6 record. This season though, they were just done trying and according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, that attitude is why he’s gone. Salguero claims the following quote from head coach Adam Gase was referencing both Ajayi and wide receiver Jarvis Landry — who also is reportedly on the block:
“At the end of the day, guys have got to actually take this stuff home and study it. They’re not going to just learn it all in meetings. We’ve got to find guys that will actually put forth effort to actually remember this stuff and really, it starts with our best players.”
Sure, it makes sense that a team wants more dedication, but the problem here is two fold. One, they got nothing. A fourth-round pick is nothing to be excited about, and given the Eagles record, this will be a late forth-round pick. While Ajayi was a fifth-round pick, finding such value late is rare.
The Dolphins themselves know parting with such talent without getting proper value is dumb, regardless of the player in question’s attitude or dedication. Again Salguero gives us some insight as he said they are considering offering up Landry, but won’t “give him away.”
The Miami Dolphins may not be finished today. Jarvis Landry is available for the right compensation. Not giving him away though.
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) October 31, 2017
The second issue is they actually rewarded Ajayi. To say Gase sent a message to his locker room would be foolish. The Dolphins have been up-and-down this season and all signs point to them eventually falling apart. As for the team Ajayi was sent to? They have the best record in the league and are only trending up.
So, to sum it up; Adam Gase is basically saying if you don’t shape up and buy in, we will send you to a contender and get less value, therefore putting you in a better position and us in a worse one. Yeah, way to go. Had the Dolphins really wanted to send a message, they could have sat Ajayi and made him either earn his spot back or spend the rest of the year not playing. Or even better, they could have shipped him to the Cleveland Browns.