Monday, April 4, 2011

Dolphins have pre-draft trade agreement with Cowboys?

The Miami Dolphins are known to be in the market for a quarterback to  compete with Chad Henne this offseason, and it's possible the team already has a tentative trade agreement with a team picking in the top 10 should a player they covet be available.

According to a March 27 blog entry by DraftInsider.net, the Dallas Cowboys have a plan in place with an unknown team holding a "mid-first round pick" to trade down from the No. 9 spot if either one of the top two quarterbacks—Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton—is available when Dallas is on the clock.

While there is no confirmation that the Dolphins are that team, they seem as likely as any team to be when looking at the facts. Consider:
  • The Dolphins fit the description of holding a mid-first round pick, sitting at No. 15. The pick would be an excellent spot for the Cowboys to grab a right tackle prospect like Tyron Smith (USC), Anthony Castonzo (Boston College) or Nate Solder (Colorado).
  • The Dolphins' organization from top to bottom is littered with former Cowboys personnel, including general manager and decision-maker Jeff Ireland and head coach Tony Sparano.
  • The Dolphins have made past deals with the Cowboys as a result of their connections, including Miami's acquisitions of linebacker Akin Ayodele, tight end Anthony Fasano, and nose tackle Jason Ferguson.
  • The Dolphins are known to be looking for a quarterback in this draft, and have already had private workouts with both Gabbert and Newton.

Even without any hard evidence, I'd say there is a pretty fair chance that the Dolphins are indeed the team holding an arrangement with the Cowboys. While the team doesn't have a second-round pick, it's possible they could be offering the Cowboys the No. 15 overall pick, their third-round pick (79th overall), and more to move up six spots.

Of course, this could all be a moot point, as there appears to be a strong chance that one of the two quarterbacks will go first overall to the Carolina Panthers, and the other might not be far behind.

In fact, I currently project the Panthers to select Newton first overall in my latest two-round mock draft, and I have Gabbert landing in Buffalo at No. 3.

Even if Gabbert and Newton don't come off the board exactly as I'm predicting, it's still a stretch to think either will be available at No. 9 when Dallas is on the clock, as theoretically every team in the top eight could be targeting a quarterback early.

But even if this potential arrangement with the Cowboys doesn't indicate something that will happen, it does potentially shed light on just how committed the Dolphins are to landing a potential franchise quarterback early in this draft, and just how far they are willing to go to do it.


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