Deeper at wide receiver than they have been in years yet concerned about their secondary depth and performance, the Miami Dolphins have traded receiver Greg Camarillo to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for cornerback Benny Sapp.
Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Chargers just prior to the 2007 season, Camarillo was primarily a special-teams player during his first season with the Dolphins, catching eight passes and recording three tackles.
He earned a special place on the hearts of Dolphins fans with his 64-yard touchdown reception in overtime against Baltimore, which resulted in what would ultimately be the team's lone victory in their 1-15 season.
Camarillo moved into a starting role in 2008, ranking second behind on the Dolphins behind Ted Ginn, Jr. with 55 receptions and 613 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games.
He signed a three-year, $6 million extension that November, but suffered a season-ending torn ACL the same month.
Returning as a starter in 2009, Camarillo opened all 16 games for the Dolphins and caught 50 passes for 552 yards. However, he failed to find the end zone for the first time since 2006 with San Diego.
Camarillo joins Ginn (now with San Francisco) the second Dolphins starting receiver from 2009 to be traded before the 2010 season. He was projected to be the Dolphins' fourth wideout this coming season.
The departure of Camarillo gives the Dolphins seven receivers for what will likely be five spots on the roster.
A Fort Lauderdale native, Sapp play high school football at Boyd Anderson High School in Florida with fellow NFL cornerback Asante Samuel.
Sapp transferred to Northern Iowa following his sophomore season with the Iowa Hawkeyes after being kicked off the team. He went on to earn first-team all-conference honors during his senior season with the UNI Panthers in 2003.
Undrafted in 2004, Sapp signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie free agent and appeared in 15 games during his first NFL season. He totaled 15 tackles in 2004 and recorded his first career interception (vs. the Raiders' Kerry Collins) in December.
Sapp went on to play three more seasons in Kansas City, finishing his time there with 140 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, and 14 pass deflections in 56 games (six starts).
After signing with the Minnesota Vikings in 2008, Sapp experienced his best season as a pro with 22 tackles and two interceptions in 14 games.
Sapp was re-signed to a one-year contract in March 2009 and went on to appear in all 16 games (including a career-high seven starts) that season, recording 44 tackles, two forced fumbles, and six pass deflections.
An unrestricted free agent in the 2010 offseason, Sapp was re-signed to a two-year $4.2 million contract on March 9. The deal includes base salaries of $1.4 million in 2010 and $1.7 million in 2011.
Sapp's signing currently gives the Dolphins nine cornerbacks on the 80-man active roster.
It's no surprise to see Camarillo traded, and I'm actually happy to say I mentioned the possibility of him not being around much longer during my observations for last weekend's game.
Camarillo is a sure-handed receiver with a work ethic as good as anyone's in the league, and I honestly consider him a better version of Davone Bess, given his bigger size and better hands.
That being the case, it makes more sense for the Dolphins to keep Bess trade Camarillo now.
While not as refined and reliable as Camarillo, Bess is still just 24 years old, makes the league minimum, and is under team control for the next four seasons.
Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Camarillo had base salaries totaling $3 million over the next two seasons before heading toward unrestricted free agency.
Relegated to the No. 4 job with the acquisition of Brandon Marshall and the emergence of second-year receiver Brian Hartline, the Dolphins were wise to deal Camarillo and get something for him rather than let him languish on the sidelines.
The trade opens up another spot in the Dolphins' likely five-man receiving corps, with four players competing for the final two spots.
I think this move means Patrick Turner is a lock for one of those spots given the team's investment in him, and undrafted rookie Marlon Moore appears to be ahead of Julius Pruitt and Roberto Wallace for the final spot.
Of course, it's important to remember that the Dolphins could find their No. 5 receiver among other teams' cuts, as they did when they picked up Camarillo in 2007, Brandon London in 2008, and so on.
It's also possible the Dolphins only keep four receivers to open the season if they need an extra player elsewhere due to injury.
In fact, Sapp's acquisition may have a lot to do with the growing concern over Will Allen's recovery from a torn ACL suffered last season. If Allen isn't going to be available to open the season, Sapp provides a veteran off the bench along with Jason Allen behind the team's starters.
Sapp isn't a huge acquisition so it's not like the team made out like bandits here. Sapp is an experienced backup corner, but he lacks ideal size at just 5-foot-9 and has little room to grow or develop.
The arrival of Sapp does, however, hurt the chances of preseason star Nate Ness and veteran Kevin Hobbs to make the roster, as the team obviously doesn't feel comfortable with either being a primary backup in the secondary at this point.
If Will Allen begins the season on the active roster, it's quite possible the team opens with six cornerbacks in all. In addition to the teams starters, Jason Allen is a special teams ace and rookie Nolan Carroll is a promising prospect who should also return kicks.
Sapp isn't a lock to make the roster, but he is a good bet to do so. Even if the Dolphins didn't need Camarillo anymore, he still had some value either on the team or in trade, so I don't think they would have dealt him for someone to just audition for a roster spot.
As always, check out the projected depth chart reflecting these transaction here.
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