A six-pack of Miami Dolphins notes on a Wednesday:
▪ Fox NFL analyst and then-Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, in 1989, pulled off perhaps the biggest heist in NFL history, trading Herschel Walker to Minnesota for five players, three draft picks (including a first- and second-rounder) and five conditional draft picks attached to those players that turned into more high picks.
So if there’s anyone who would appreciate the Laremy Tunsil trade from a Dolphins perspective, it’s JJ.
Asked his thoughts on the trade — which sent Tunsil, Kenny Stills and fourth- and sixth-round picks to Houston for two first-round picks and a second-rounder — Johnson emailed: “Great trade for Miami. Evidently they held out to get Houston to overpay.”
But is Miami’s return as big as it looks?
NBC’s Peter King offered this perspective in his weekly column:
“Houston probably overpaid for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, but not by much. I’ll vehemently disagree with those who say Houston got robbed. Houston gave up two first-round picks and a second, plus two marginal players, and got Tunsil, a 25-year-old quality long-term left tackle, durable receiver Kenny Stills (missed two of 99 career games with injuries) and fourth and sixth-round picks. Say the Texans give the 20th pick in 2020 and the 20th and 52nd picks in 2021. A long-term left tackle is certainly worth two mid-round ones.
“As for the second-round pick, Houston will be glad to have Stills for the next two seasons at the slightly inflated tab of $15-million total, because they’ve had major injury issues beyond Deandre Hopkins. Miami’s fourth and sixth-round picks will be near the top of each round. So Miami probably wins a deal of a mid-round two for Stills, a four and a six, but it’s not awfully lopsided at all.”
▪ Former UM defensive tackle Gerald Willis was released from the Dolphins’ practice squad after three days because of an injury. Three weekend cuts — defensive tackle Jamiyus Pittman, tight end Chris Myarick and safety Montre Hartage - were added to the practice squad.
Wednesday also delivered the first injury report of the season, and Dolphins linebacker Trent Harris — the former UM player released by the Patriots on Saturday — was the only player listed as a non-participant in practice with a foot injury.
Safety Bobby McCain (shoulder), linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (foot), receiver Albert Wilson (hip), defensive lineman John Jenkins (illness), guard Danny Isidora (hamstring) and cornerback Johnson Bademosi (hip) were limited.
▪ Though the Dolphins want to see what they have in rookie guards Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun, coach Brian Flores said the three backup interior linemen — Chris Reed, Danny Isidora and Evan Boehm — will push them. Those three veterans all have starting experience with other NFL teams. Deiter and Calhoun have started throughout preseason and are starters on the depth chart.
“We brought in a couple veteran interior players to push the rookies,” Flores said of Isidora and Boehm, who were acquired via trade on Friday. “The rookies have done well. How they respond will tell us a lot this week. We’ll put the best five out there.”
▪ Two defensive linemen claimed off waivers from the New York Giants this week — Jenkins and Avery Moss — could get playing time on defense Sunday against Baltimore.
Jenkins, who has played six years in the league and has 1.5 career sacks, is “a big guy, physical interior d-lineman,” Flores said. “Has some athletic ability that I like, some quickness. The film we saw in preseason was good. Avery does a good job setting the edge, has some pass rush ability we felt would help us.”
Moss, a fifth-round pick out of Youngstown State, appeared in 11 games and started two games for the Giants as a rookie in 2017 (he had 14 tackles and no sacks), then was on their practice squad last season.
Jenkins said he has played end in a 3-4 and tackle in a 3-4 and 4-3, and that versatility appeals to the Dolphins. He predicted Davon Godchaux would become one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles.
▪ Though new left tackle Julien Davenport gave up the second-most sacks in the NFL last season (12), committed the most penalties (16) and permitted the most quarterback pressures (68), Flores said “he’s got a lot of potential. Athletic, good length, smart player.”
Davenport said he’s learning the playbook and received work in team drills Wednesday. He’s the expected starter as soon as he’s up to speed, potentially Sunday against Baltimore.
▪ Quick stuff: Flores said running back Kenyan Drake is “as talented as anyone we have on your team - fast, physical, explosive. We look forward to getting him a lot of touches this week.”... Practice squad quarterback Jake Rudock said the Dolphins told him they kept him around because “they thought I did good stuff and want to keep developing me.”...Receiver Preston Williams said he expects to get some offensive snaps Sunday. “We have a nice rotation going,” he said of the team’s five receivers.
Please check back for two more Dolphins pieces later today.