The Miami Dolphins will be well into the process of contacting teams with which they would be willing to trade Jarvis Landry within the next week or so. The agent for Miami’s top receiver will be into that process in the next few days, as well.
So what’s next?
And why is this happening?
Those are the top two questions asked for weeks as I’ve reported the Dolphins have significant concerns about Landry, as I’ve reported using the franchise tag only made sense if the Dolphins were planning to trade Landry, and finally as I reported earlier this week that the Dolphins indeed wanted to trade Landry.
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(Yeah, that’s a lot of Landry coverage, but so it goes when the Dolphins want to move on from their most productive offensive player of the past four seasons.)
So what’s next?
The Dolphins told Landry’s agent that if no acceptable trade can be found, they are perfectly willing to bring the player back at the $16.22 million franchise tag cost. There will be no long-term deal. There will be no future for Landry in Miami beyond that, folks.
And, even if Landry is not traded this offseason, the Dolphins will continue trying to trade him up and through the start of the regular season if necessary.
Simply, the team wants to move on.
But I doubt it takes that long. Landry will be traded this offseason. You can bank on that.
Once you tell a player who has been difficult to manage at times that you want to trade him, you’ve announced yourself as not being for him. It’s like serving a spouse with divorce papers.
You’re not divorced yet, but it’s clear you’re not on the same side anymore.
It’s really hard to unring that bell.
You cannot bring Landry back into a locker room and run the risk of steering younger players against management, which he now sees as not being in his corner. Indeed, I doubt Landry ever is allowed to be part of any offseason conditioning or OTAs or anything team related.
Yes, that ability to keep him through the trade deadline remains possible in the abstract under NFL rules. But it’s not probable based on the reality of relationships and team chemistry.
So, he gone.
And for what?
Impossible to say with certainty. The Dolphins don’t want to offer him up as a bargain. But it will be very difficult to get value for a player other teams know you don’t want to keep and they have to pay. And it is true any team wanting Landry will need to sign him to a long-term contract to make it worth their effort and to make Landry agreeable to any trade.
That means someone will have to be committed to Landry.
Two teams that make some sense are Chicago and San Francisco.
Both have salary cap room galore — as in more than $60 million when the league year begins March 14. Both have significant needs at wide receiver. And both have that need while fielding young quarterbacks that could use a veteran go-to receiver as a security blanket.
I also would not discount Tennessee.
Many folks talk of the Ravens being interested. They have been interested in Landry previously. But it would take some significant work by Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome because the team is projected to be less than $10 million under the cap unless it makes some significant salary cap-related cuts to the current roster.
And what would be a good return for Landry?
Maybe it’s as simple as a straight draft pick. I imagine the Dolphins would like a second-rounder. I imagine no one would want to give more than a fourth-rounder.
Maybe it’s a player. (When you’re doing that, you’re taking on someone the other team no longer wants as well as the contract.) The Dolphins need help up and down the roster: Defensive end, offensive line, tight end, running back, linebacker, cornerback, backup quarterback.
Maybe the Dolphins use Landry as a “throw-in” to move up in draft position in either the first or second round. They pick No. 11 in the first round. They pick No. 10 in the second round.
And now the million-dollar question: Why are the Dolphins doing this?
It’s simple, really. While fans are wringing their hands about losing a productive player, the fact is the two seasons Landry caught his most passes — 2015 and 2017 — the team was 6-10 both seasons.
I’m not saying Landry was responsible for the team going 6-10. I’m saying that even with Landry playing at his best, he didn’t change anything.
But he wants to be paid like he changes things. He wants to be paid like a game-changer.
That’s his right. He deserves to be paid by somebody who values him as that guy, but the Dolphins do not.
And remember, that value is set by things beyond merely on-field production. It includes preparation. It includes offseason training. It includes practice. It includes demeanor in and around the training facility. It includes half a dozen things neither you nor I see on Sunday.
And the Dolphins, seeing these things the past couple of seasons, have decided that making a long-term commitment to Landry is too much given the effort it takes to see him productive on Sunday.
In other words, it’s just not a fit for them anymore.
Let me say this: Wherever Jarvis Landry goes, he will be productive. So be ready for that.
Be ready to feel depressed that Landry might catch 90 passes for his next team in 2018.
And in 2019.
And maybe in 2020.
He may very well enjoy better chemistry with his next set of coaches and teammates and front office people that he doesn’t necessarily enjoy in Miami.
But that will require some work from him — and his next team. At a significant price.
A price of dollars and effort the Dolphins aren’t wanting to commit to.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero