The portion of the NFL calendar where misinformation is purposely spread throughout the league is unquestionably underway. With that said, it’s pivotal to at take every draft rumor that is circulating with a grain of salt at the very least, if not complete disregard.
None of that means said rumors can’t be analyzed in order to seek each’s legitimacy, though. A rumor pertaining to the Miami Dolphins that originated on Twitter raised some eyebrows on Tuesday afternoon.
According to the Twitter handle @NFLDraftBites, which has developed a reputation for leaking solid information before past drafts, the Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings will strongly consider a trade to swap first-rounders among other picks if Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews slips through the first seven selections. The Dolphins desperately need a right tackle, and although there will be quality options available with the No. 19 overall pick in the first round and the No. 50 overall pick in the second round, none of those options possess the upside Matthews does.
The Aggies’ standout has the potential to emerge as an elite player as a rookie and the versatility to hold down the right tackle spot while Branden Albert is in the fold and the left tackle spot when Albert’s days in South Florida conclude.
“Take him and don’t worry about anything,” an unnamed NFC personnel man recently told NJ.com about Matthews. “You have a left tackle for the next whatever many years.”
Of course, there is a strong chance Matthews is swooped up by a team selecting inside the top five. But in the unlikely event he falls, will the Dolphins seriously consider trading up? It’s not unfathomable to think they would at least ponder the idea.
It’s absolutely imperative that Miami finds out what it has in quarterback Ryan Tannehill this season. Surrounding him with the best supporting cast possible, most namely a quality offensive line far superior to the group that allowed a whopping 58 sacks in 2013, should reveal his true identity. Pairing Matthews with Albert at tackle would likely assure that Tannehill has a clean pocket on the majority of his throws, assuming the interior line doesn’t routinely disintegrate.
Taking into account @NFLDraftBites’ reliable history, either by way of coincidence or the possession of a trustworthy source, there could be some credence to the rumor. It should be noted that the same Twitter account adamantly reported before the draft in 2013 that the Dolphins were in discussions with the Oakland Raiders about trading up in the first round. Of course, that’s exactly what happened when Miami moved up to the No. 3 overall selection to snag Dion Jordan.
“Dolphins and Raiders remain actively engaged in trade talks,” the account tweeted on April 21, 2013 — four days before the draft. “Expect trade when Raiders on clock.”
Assuming there is a hint of truth to this latest rumor — far from a certainty but rather a hypothetical claim to further evaluate the possibility — what would the Dolphins have to give up to pull it off? According to the famous trade value chart, to compensate the Vikings for the No. 8 overall pick, the Dolphins would have to ship their No. 19, No. 50 and No. 81 overall selections to Minneapolis. That would leave the Vikings with a +60 value difference, so awarding the Dolphins an additional fourth or fifth-rounder would bring the deal closer to congruence with the chart.
Last April’s trade with the Raiders is a prime example that teams aren’t always inclined to abide by the chart, though. The Dolphins came away with a +520 value win for giving up their second-round selection to swap firsts (move up nine slots) with Oakland. In other words: highway robbery.
Chances are, however, the Vikings or another trade partner will be adamant about receiving proper value in return. The Dolphins not only have a void at right tackle; they could use a linebacker, guard and pass catcher as well. Forfeiting one or two of their day two picks would make it difficult to address those needs with potential starters. In a deep class at the tackle position, the Dolphins are more than capable of acquiring a starting right tackle in the second or third round, which makes Matthews far from a necessary addition for substantial improvement.
Trading up for Matthews would be a desperate move that rookie GM Dennis Hickey shouldn’t feel compelled to make.
Cody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.