For those of you who got understandably confused by all of the reports surrounding the Jaguars and Dolphins trading players and picks, here’s a basic recap of what will go down. These trades have been reported, but will not become official until the new league year starts on March 9th.
Trade One: Jaguars receive Branden Albert, in exchange for a 2018 7th round draft pick.
Trade Two: Dolphins receive Julius Thomas in exchange for a 2017 7th round draft pick.
Please note that because these trades are not yet official, the could potentially change at any time. Having said that, here are five thoughts on the deals as they currently stand.
The Jaguars aren’t treating Branden Albert like a savior.
Ever since the news broke that the Jags were acquiring Albert, I’ve seen several people mocking them for believing that Albert is the answer to all of their woes. Look, I understand that this team has been bad for a decade now, but I think to assess this trade as the Jags acquiring their perceived savior is unfair. If the Jags thought that highly of Albert, they probably would have traded for him earlier, and they definitely would have given up more than a 7th round pick. Which brings me to my next point.
These trades are being made out to be a bigger deal than they probably are.
I will fully acknowledge that we are still in February, and there really isn’t too much going on in the NFL right now. However, I can’t help but think these trades are being blown out of proportion by most fans and some media. To me, this is nothing more than two teams deciding to give up next to nothing to acquire a player who was going to be cut anyway. By surrendering a 7th round pick, both teams add a player they believe can compete without having to worry about missing out on them as a free agent. My guess is that in two years, these moves will be looked back on as ‘ho-hum’ more so than ‘franchise altering’.
Don’t focus on who ‘won’ the trade, focus on how it affects the teams.
Whenever a trade goes down in the NFL, or in any sport really, there is always a rush to crown one of the teams the ‘winner’ of the deal. While that is fun and good filler talk, it may not be the best way to assess these moves. In reality, both teams ‘win’ because they acquire a player at a position of need, without having to sacrifice more than a 7th round draft pick. How these players perform will ultimately determine if these were good trades or not, but in reality, it’s hard to ‘lose’ when you’re basically only giving up a 7th round pick and a player you were going to cut anyways.
Side-note: I think people are completely overvaluing Julius Thomas at this point. I know we all wanted to believe that Julius would get back to his ‘Denver ways’ under a new head coach. But the fact of the matter is, teams don't usually trade for a guy based on hope, and they definitely don't trade a lot for that when they do make a move. Julius Thomas has not been good in his time in Jax, and considering his contract, the Jaguars are probably lucky they got anything for him.
Kelvin Beachum’s future will affect the grading of these moves.
Personally, I like to try and grade players/moves in a vacuum; however, that’s not always the best way to look at things. In a vacuum, this seems like a good move for the Jaguars. They get a left tackle who, when healthy, is better than anyone they had on the roster. It gives them a competent left tackle as a stop gap for a couple of years until they find their guy for the future. Having said that, what Kelvin Beachum’s fate ends up being will likely determine how a lot of fans view this trade. I’ve seen many people who like the trade, but they would have preferred to hang on to Beachum. I think that’s perfectly understandable. As it stands, I like this trade. If Beachum re-signs, and he and Albert compete to fill out the LG and LT positions, I love the trade. As of right now, a Beachum re-signing seems unlikely, but you never know.
On the surface, this seems like a smart move for the Jaguars entering free agency and the draft.
Position #Jaguars acquired: OT— Matt Hoffman (@MattHoffmanNFL) February 20, 2017
Position Jags moved: TE
Position that's weak in the draft: OT
Position that's strong in the draft: TE
For anyone who studies the NFL Draft, you probably know that this isn’t a strong class for offensive tackles. There isn’t much depth, and the guys at the top all have question marks. On the other hand, this tight end class looks to be one of the best in recent memory. The free agent class is also very underwhelming for offensive tackles. So, the Jaguars acquiring a tackle and shipping out a tight end seems to add up when you consider the pool of college players entering the NFL this offseason. I’m nowhere near ready to start saying the Jaguars are good or smart yet; however, I will say that this is a refreshing departure from the logic that was presented the last four years. Remember the days of signing a defensive tackle, so you could draft a defensive tackle, and add them in with all of the other defensive tackles you already had? How Albert plays will ultimately determine if this was a great move or not, but it’s nice to see roster moves being made with consideration of the offseason talent pool.
What are your thoughts on the reported trades?