Among the many business matters the Miami Dolphins expect to attend to during their time at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis the next few days is, of course, the Jarvis Landry situation.
If you think the Dolphins were finished with their Landry business when they placed a $16.2 million franchise tag on him last week, you are mistaken.
The Dolphins haven’t publicly discussed Landry but may do so when coach Adam Gase and general manager Chris Grier speak to the media on Wednesday.
My guess is if the men entertain questions about Landry (they’ll be hard to avoid) they will say positive things about a productive player who has caught 400 passes for 4,038 yards in four seasons. They may even make it seem as if they want to retain Landry.
But what will play out behind the scenes will probably be more interesting.
And it will go further than any forgettable quotes in determining the future for the club and Landry once the league year opens March 14.
Among the significant work the Dolphins will be doing behind the scenes is trying to find a suitor interested in trading for Landry. That’s right, the Dolphins would like to trade Landry, according to an NFL source, and want to find a team willing to give up something acceptable in return.
That team must also be willing to take on Landry’s financial burden. That burden would be carrying Landry’s $16.2 million franchise tag or giving Landry a multi-year contract. Landry was seeking a 4-year, $58 million contract from the Dolphins but it’s unclear if that price has changed.
As for the Dolphins and what would be acceptable to them: The non-exclusive franchise tag requires any team signing Landry to give Miami two first-round draft picks.
That’s not happening. No team will be willing to do that and entertaining the idea beyond the end of this sentence is folly.
But the Dolphins would be willing to accept less. If the Dolphins manage to trade Landry the likely compensation, multiple NFL people are saying, would be perhaps a third-round pick. Or maybe a low second-rounder. Or maybe a player.
So what teams might be willing to get involved in the Landry sweepstakes?
The Baltimore Ravens were interested in Landry last year, per reports in the Baltimore Sun and veteran players such as safety Eric Weddle reached out to Landry on social media recently to plant the idea of him making the jump to Baltimore.
But it’s a long way from Ravens players wanting Landry to general manager Ozzie Newsome wanting him -- especially with the Ravens among the lower-third of the league in salary cap space.
The Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and Carolina Panthers are also among the teams looking to upgrade their wide receivers this offseason. The Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints seem like fits for varying reasons also but neither has great salary cap room and the Bills play in Miami’s division.
The Dolphins are also scheduled to talk with Landry’s agent in Indianapolis on Wednesday and that meeting should be interesting.
One point the Dolphins are almost certain to make is that Landry should sign his franchise tag. This, the Dolphins could contend, benefits both sides.
It benefits the Dolphins because they can make no trade unless Landry signs his tag.
In theory, Landry could decide he’s going to play hardball with the Dolphins and not sign the tag, and not show up to offseason conditioning, or OTAs, or any offseason camps. And he’d be within his rights. And the Dolphins wouldn’t be able to trade Landry at all.
But the bet here is the Dolphins will explain how that hurts Landry as much as the team.
Not signing his tender would keep Landry absent from the start of the free agency when teams with cap space and the willingness to trade might immediately step up. If Landry has not signed his tag, he could miss that lucrative window.
And if Landry plays hardball, so might the Dolphins. If he refuses to sign his tag, he might sit in limbo for months. And at some point of their choosing -- perhaps after most big contracts are negotiated early in free agency -- the Dolphins could rescind the franchise tag.
That could leave Landry as a free agent looking for a team in a market where most teams already drafted a receiver or spent their top free agent dollars on someone else.
So both sides have leverage and need to work together.
There is obviously the real possibility the Dolphins cannot find a trade partner. Or perhaps Landry agrees to sign a team-friendly contract. Or the Dolphins themselves cave and sign Landry for whatever he’s asking.
That all could potentially be the topic of the coming talks between the sides. All those are possibilities.
The most likely business about to be conducted by the Dolphins in Indianapolis is they’re going to try finding a trade partner to deal Jarvis Landry.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero