Armando Salguero

Jarvis Landry trade is not the end for the Miami Dolphins. It’s the start

Wide receiver Jarvis Landry has played his last game for the Miami Dolphins.
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry has played his last game for the Miami Dolphins. AP

Miami Dolphins fans heard Jarvis Landry was traded Friday afternoon and when they found out their team got a fourth-round pick (123rd overall) in the coming draft and a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft, everyone jumped to conclusions.

“The team did a terrible job.”

“I’m quitting as a Dolphins fan.”

“We never do anything right.”

One Dolphins player texted me the following: “Man, things get harder every day round here.”

And so I’m going to tell you what I answered him: Stop, wait, and see.

Because the trade that sent the team’s best receiver to NFL purgatory is not the end of this saga.

It’s the beginning.

Now, things get interesting. Now, the Dolphins have $16 million in salary cap space they didn’t have when Friday dawned. And with the fourth-rounder, the team now has five picks in the draft’s first four rounds.

So let’s see what they do with it all.

If you’re worried the Dolphins just created a hole where a productive player was penciled in on the depth chart, you are correct. No question. But this is a deep draft for wide receivers. Slot receivers are not impossible to find. I guarantee you quarterback Ryan Tannehill will still have enough targets to throw the football to in 2018.

Landry is a good player. We all know this. But he has never been elite. He has never changed the course of things playing wide receiver.

(He won a game in Washington one year as a punt returner).

Yes, replacing 100-plus catches a year is going to be hard. Watching Landry catch 100 passes for someone else is going to be harder. But do I need to remind you (again) that the Dolphins were 6-10 both seasons Landry caught over 100 passes for them?

So hard to replace, yes.

But irreplaceable, no.

The Dolphins can find a receiver that averages less than 10 yards per catch, just as Landry did last year. And it won’t cost $16 million per season to do it.

And I imagine what you’re saying now. The Dolphins are making the same mistake they made years ago with Wes Welker.

That’s a legitimate fear.

Except Welker was better than Landry. And Welker went to a division rival. And Welker had Tom Brady and then Peyton Manning throwing him the football after he left Miami.

This is not likely to be a Wes Welker repeat unless the Browns are drafting the second coming of Brady or Manning sometime soon.

Look, while you’re wringing hands and gnashing teeth, I’m eager to see what the Dolphins do with that extra $16 milion in cap space they just got. Because I reported Friday morning the team planned to be active in free agency even if it kept Landry and had to pay those $16 million.

So this is a windfall that will be used to acquire more talent, folks.

By the way, I know its a South Florida springtime sport to criticize the Dolphins front office. Executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum has become a frequent target of that criticism -- including some by me.

But make no mistake, Tannenbaum getting something for trading Jarivs Landry is way better than simply not using the franchise tag at all and letting Landry walk with no compensation in return.

That would have been a major loss.

This? It is not a loss at this stage.

And, this is going to freak you out, it might turn into a win.

Because the Dolphins might use that $16 million boon on a guard. Or a linebacker.

Or maybe even a guard and a linebacker. They might land three players on Wednesday, the first day of free agency, in part because Landry and his huge cap cost are gone.

I don’t know. But I’m not ruling it out.

What was impossible with those $16 million tied up is at least possible now.

I wish Landry well. You should, too. He did fine work for the Dolphins the past four years.

But I’m interested and even a little excited to see what happens next.

Because now the really interesting part begins.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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