The Miami Dolphins have made two trades and the start of the league new year hasn’t started yet. Isaiah Wilson, last year’s first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans is on his way to Miami and today the Dolphins traded for former 2nd round pick Benardrick McKinney.
In both cases, the Dolphins are gaining solid products for near nothing. McKinney will cost Miami a 6th round draft pick but will receive a 7th round pick from the Texans as well. The trade for Wilson comes with a simple swap of 7th round picks. So why is this important? Because Chris Grier is making smart moves for the future, now.
This can’t be overstated. The NFL salary cap this year is at $182 million and the Dolphins have roughly $35 million to spend. Next year, the cap is expected to jump to around $200 million or more. New television deals will help the league recoup money lost by the COVID situation.
So how is this helping Miami? For starters, free agents this year are going to still want big contracts but if the Dolphins can make trades for players that are still on current deals, they can get players below what the market will dictate this year and that will keep the Dolphins from getting into salary cap trouble next year or at the very least allowing them to have more money to spend next season.
This year there is a league-wide belief that FAs will see more one-year deals so that they can hit the market next year when the cap is higher and thus get better upfront money. For teams like the Dolphins who can turn current contracts into trades at minimal cost to the team, that money is freed up on the futures contracts that might be paid out this year on a multi-year deal.
Chris Grier has to have this in the back of his head. The more players he can add via trade are contracts that will not kill the roster, especially if we see swaps for players that even out the cap hit. There are a lot of teams in cap trouble and those teams could look to get rid of good talent for cheap.
Teams have until March 17th to get under the cap this year so a lot will be done between now and Wednesday. Grier just might find himself in a great position to take advantage of that.