As usual, the NFL trade deadline hype was greater than the actual noise made at the cutoff time. It came and went without anything of note occurring (besides Jamie Collins on Monday), as it does every single year. It would be very interesting to investigate why mid-season trading, unlike in the other three major American sports, just isn’t popular in the NFL. But for the Miami Dolphins, they made the correct decision not to give up on the season and trade away defensive end Cameron Wake.
There was no real concrete report that the Dolphins were close to moving Wake, but the reasons for doing so were pretty obvious. He’s 34 years old, so his prime years are certainly numbered, and it’s quite possible that he will be retired at this time three years from now.
In baseball, it’s a no brainer for a re-building team to deal a guy like that at the deadline.
If Miami doesn’t believe it can make the postseason, why not get a return on an older asset?
It’s not like Wake wouldn’t be in demand on the trade market. He is still one of the better pass rushers in the league, and there are quite a few Super Bowl aspiring teams that could use help with its pass rush — Dallas, Pittsburgh, New York Giants, Kansas City, New England and even Oakland. All six of those teams, who could all be the playoffs, are ranked in the bottom third of the league in sacks.
But in the NFL, these types of deals just don’t happen. If one of those teams decided their need for a pass rusher was so great that they would offer a first or even second-round pick, then sure, Miami should go for it. However, nobody is lining up to do that deal, not even Jerry Jones.
First-round picks, especially early ones, can change a franchise around in one season — just ask the Cowboys. That doesn’t happen in baseball or hockey and it rarely occurs in basketball.
Maybe that’s the difference and the underlining reason why deadline deals in the NFL are scarce. The best Miami would probably be able to get for Wake is a third-rounder, and for that low of a pick, it’s just not worth it. Third-round picks do occasionally become Pro Bowlers, but teams with a record of 3-4 also sometimes make the postseason. The Dolphins have won their last two games, and amazingly, they don’t play another team that currently has a winning record until the last week of the season.
In the last two weeks, both of which were Miami victories, Wake had two sacks. He has 3.0 for the season, and that’s tied for second on the team.
If the Dolphins had traded Wake, they would be waving the white flag on 2016. What’s even worse, is the players and fans would know the front office was giving up on the year. More than likely, locker room moral and attendance would both drop. Miami’s hill back to .500 and the postseason would be much steeper without Wake.
For a first-rounder, it’d be worth it, but trading the opportunity to make the playoffs for a pick outside the top 62 isn’t nearly as enticing.
Miami made the right choice, as every team did Tuesday, staying pat. If the Dolphins can stay healthy (other than losing safety Reshad Jones), they could make a second half run.