Laremy Tunsil

Latest On Dolphins’ Trades, Strategy

In addition to moving on from numerous veterans this offseason, the Dolphins have now traded two players who were seemingly building blocks in Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick. These moves appear to have tripped the NFL’s alarm.

The Tunsil trade involved numerous Texans offers, with Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reporting the steps the AFC teams took to finalizing the trade that sent the left tackle to Houston. The Texans’ offers went from Jadeveon Clowney-for-Tunsil, straight up, to Clowney and a first-rounder for Tunsil to first- and second-rounders for Tunsil. The Dolphins managed to drive the price to two first-rounders and a second-round selection and requested tackle Julie’n Davenport in return, Salguero notes.

Upon seeing the Texans’ deal-closing offer on a board in Chris Grier‘s office, Tunsil told the Dolphins GM, “I would trade me for that too,” Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald adds (via Twitter).

In reshuffling their power structure after last season, the Dolphins were not planning to jettison Tunsil, Fitzpatrick, Kiko Alonso or T.J. McDonald. (The Dolphins dealt Alonso to the Saints and released McDonald.) Brian Flores‘ coaching staff clashed with Alonso, Salguero adds, and asked him to play multiple roles — including edge defender. The Dolphins demoted the highly paid linebacker before trading him.

Fitzpatrick is a Steeler, being dealt after a trade request. The second-year defensive back was not on board with the versatile role the Dolphins asked him to play, and Salguero adds the team never found a sufficient comfort level that would allow Fitzpatrick to settle in at one spot. Both Grier and owner Stephen Ross attempted to help Fitzpatrick and Miami’s coaching staff find common ground.

Myself, Brian, and Steve (Ross) — we had multiple conversations with him, saying we wanted him here and viewed him as a core piece and wanted him here,” Grier said. “The kid just felt it was time for him to move, and we told him what the value was. We told teams we had multiple offers, and we felt that the Pittsburgh one was the one best for the organization.”

Fitzpatrick’s rookie deal was worth $16.447MM over four years. Similar to the deal in which the Dolphins acquired Josh Rosen, the Steelers are only on the hook for Fitzpatrick’s base salaries. Pittsburgh has the 2018 No. 11 overall pick under contract through 2021 for $5.48MM, Field Yates of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter).
The Dolphins now hold three 2020 first-round picks. A building suspicion in NFL circles centers on the prospect this Dolphins rebuild may be a stealth effort for Trevor Lawrence in 2021, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. But Salguero adds one of Miami’s three 2020 first-rounders will be used to draft a quarterback — regardless of how Rosen performs in what now may be an extended audition. The Cardinals in 2018-19 and Baltimore Colts in 1982-83 were the most recent franchises to draft first-round passers in consecutive years, so as of now it looks like this oft-labeled tanking strategy is built around Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa (should he enter the 2020 draft).

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Dolphins Give Minkah Fitzpatrick Permission To Seek Trade

Minkah Fitzpatrick has received permission from the Dolphins to seek a trade, multiple sources tell Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com.

Fitzpatrick, who projected to be a cornerback/safety coming into the league, is unhappy with how the organization making him play multiple positions on defense. During training camp, Fitzpatrick’s mother tweeted that he was being used incorrectly and Fitzpatrick confirmed that he agreed with her assessment.

“She feels very strongly. She’s not wrong,” Fitzpatrick said. “Coach has asked me to do something right now. I got to do what they ask me to do. If we have to have some discussions in the future, we’ll have those discussions.

“I’m not 215 pounds, 220 pounds. So playing in the box isn’t best suited for me, but that’s what Coach is asking me to do.”

The Dolphins are not actively shopping Fitzpatrick, according to Mortensen. If a deal gets done, it’ll be on Fitzpatrick’s camp to find a suitor. Fitzpatrick’s agent, Joel Segal, has been in contact with several teams and Miami’s asking price appears to be high, as it involves a first-round pick.

Mortensen spoke with a personnel man from a rival team who said it would be surprising if the Dolphins netted a first-rounder for Fitzpatrick. The source was high on Fitzpatrick’s skills, though the pessimism had to do with the 22-year-old’s projected position. He told Mortensen that Fitzpatrick was an “ideal slot corner who can cover, blitz off the edge, [is] intelligent, a good tackler and a good special-teams player.” Another rival GM told Mortensen that Miami is being unrealistic about what their players will get in trades after coming away with two first-rounders in the Laremy Tunsil deal.

The former No. 11 overall pick is expected to play against the Patriots this week.

AFC South Notes: Tunsil, Brissett, Jack

New Texans starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil is wasting no time getting acclimated to his new team. Coach Bill O’Brien said the former first-round pick is putting in “double time” with regard to getting up to speed with Houston’s communication on packages, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle relays.

“Laremy has been in here all day working with Mike, working with a couple of guys, some of the veteran guys, Nick Martin, guys like that,” the coach said. “Look, at the end of the day, that’s going to be a challenge early on here because he just got here.

“But I think that he’s played a lot of football and maybe what somebody calls an apple, we call an orange. It’s just different terms, but it’s the same blocking assignment.”

Here’s more from the AFC South:

  • Jacoby Brissett, who recently signed a new two-year, $30MM extension, told Mike Chappell of CBS4 in Indianapolis that he negotiated the contract himself. “I don’t like people to BS on my behalf. I try to say it for myself. . . . all you can be is honest,” the Colts new starting quarterback said. “I did my rookie contract, too, so I kind of had the gist of it.’’
  • The details on Myles Jacks new contract are in. The deal pays the linebacker $26.06MM in guarantees, as Pro Football Talk details. That figure is second in the league among inside linebackers (C.J. Mosley).
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline envisions Dion Lewis being heavily involved in the Titan’s offense. Lewis has three years remaining on the four-year, $19.8MM deal he inked during the 2018 offseason.

More On Jadeveon Clowney Trade

A pair of blockbuster trades were consummated on cutdown day, one of which featured Jadeveon Clowney heading to Seattle. More details on that trade and how it went down may come out over the next couple of days, but here’s a roundup of what we have so far:

  • Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the Texans paid Clowney a $7MM signing bonus while the Seahawks will pick up the remaining $9MM of Clowney’s 2019 salary (Twitter link). The trade was already viewed as a big win for Seattle, and this tips the scales even further in the Seahawks’ favor. Critically, the Seahawks have promised Clowney that they will not put the franchise tag on him in 2020.
  • At one point, the Dolphins believed they were the frontrunners for Clowney, and when the trade to Seattle was first reported, we heard that Miami and the Texans were indeed headed towards a deal before Clowney made it clear that he would refuse to play for the Fins. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald confirms that report and says the Dolphins and Texans were on their way to a trade that would have sent Clowney and two very high picks to Miami in exchange for LT Laremy Tunsil, but Clowney’s aversion to South Beach scuttled that (Twitter link). Of course, the two sides did agree to a Tunsil trade, it just didn’t include Clowney.
  • Jackson adds in a separate tweet that the Dolphins only really considered Clowney a bonus, not necessarily a long-term piece. The team really wanted premium draft capital in a Tunsil trade, and that’s ultimately what Miami got.
  • Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says that, when Clowney did not report to the Texans after their third preseason game, as Houston had expected, the team’s leverage was reduced even further. And when Clowney suggested that he was willing to miss regular season action if he was not traded, the Texans had to act to make the best deal they could (Twitter link).
  • Clowney will re-hire longtime agent Bus Cook, whom he had fired less than a week ago, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

Texans Acquire Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills From Dolphins

The Texans are going full edge makeover on Saturday. Despite the Dolphins not being the team to land Jadeveon Clowney, they are finalizing a deal to send Laremy Tunsil to Houston, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

This is a blockbuster. Kenny Stills will also head to Houston for a package of picks, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo report (on Twitter) one of those will be a first-rounder. In fact, two of those picks will be first-rounders. The Texans are sending two first-rounders and a second-rounder to the Dolphins for Tunsil and Stills, the NFL.com trio adds (on Twitter). This is a massive return for the Dolphins’ now-Chris Grier-led front office.

The full details of the picks changing hands are as follows, courtesy of Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link). Miami will get first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 from Houston, and a second-rounder in 2021. The Texans will get a 2020 fourth-rounder as well as a 2021 sixth-rounder back from the Dolphins.

Additionally, the Dolphins will receive two players from the Texans as well. Tackle Julie’n Davenport and special-teamer Johnson Bademosi will head to Miami, Rapoport tweets. Davenport, a 2017 fourth-round pick, started 15 games for the Texans last season.

To recap, the Texans dealt Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks, acquired Carlos Hyde from the Chiefs, landed cornerback Keion Crossen from the Patriots and are now receiving Tunsil and Stills from the Dolphins. The Texans are operating without a GM. De facto GM Bill O’Brien has now given up a Khalil Mack-level haul for the Tunsil-headlined package.

With the Colts losing Andrew Luck, the Texans became the Las Vegas favorites to win the AFC South. The division champions in three of the past four seasons, the Texans are using Saturday as a springboard to solidify their position. This comes despite Houston drafting linemen in the first two rounds this year — Tytus Howard and Max Scharping — and signing Matt Kalil. The Texans were set to play Howard at guard and Kalil at tackle. Tunsil will now protect Deshaun Watson‘s blind side.

No quarterback since Jon Kitna in 2006 took more sacks than Watson did in 2018, 62. As a result, the Texans will have a nearly remade offensive front. Tunsil started 30 games for the Dolphins at left tackle since 2017. He played left guard in 2016. He was expected to be 2016’s No. 1 overall pick before a leaked video damaged his draft stock, dropping him to Miami at No. 13.

Tunsil became extension-eligible in January, and it’s a good bet the Texans — who just cleared Clowney’s $15.9MM tag price off their books — will begin discussions soon. Two years remain on Tunsil’s rookie contract. Unlike the Mack trade, there is no extension coming immediately, but Rapoport adds (via Twitter) that is in the Texans’ plans.

Stills functioned as Miami’s deep threat for four seasons. While he never matched his career-best yardage total for the 2014 Saints, Stills twice surpassed 700 yards and has scored 21 touchdowns over the past three years. He makes for an interesting fit alongside DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. The latter is one of the NFL’s better deep threats. Stills, 27, is under contract through 2020. Nearly $15MM remains on his deal.

The Dolphins resisted dealing Tunsil in a Clowney swap, but the rebuilding team will now have an additional first-round pick with which to work. This accelerates the Dolphins’ rebuild project and obviously weakens their 2019 roster. They will be perhaps the top contender for the 2020 No. 1 overall pick, which could well be a quarterback. Miami was the first team reported to be eyeing the 2020 signal-caller crop.

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Latest On Texans, Dolphins, Jadeveon Clowney

If the Texans want Dolphins tackle Laremy Tunsil, they’ll have to pay a hefty price for him. The Texans have dangled a first-round pick and Jadeveon Clowney in a proposed deal for Tunsil, but the Fins want even more, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears from two NFL sources.

One of those sources tells Jackson that the Dolphins are seeking a high draft pick in addition to Clowney and a first-round choice. This could be a classic example of the old business adage, “Don’t tell them ‘no,’ tell them how much it will cost.”

The Dolphins’ interest in Clowney is very real, but so is their attachment to Tunsil, who is a quality tackle in a league that is largely devoid of them. There’s also this to consider – the Dolphins would have to give Clowney a hefty deal upon acquiring him, so they want to make sure the deal is worthwhile in total.

Will the Texans meet the sky-high asking price? That largely depends on exactly how desperate they are for left tackle help and how much other interested clubs will fork over for the former No. 1 overall pick.

Clowney is said to favor the Seahawks and Eagles, while the Dolphins, Jets, and Redskins have also touched base on him.

 

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Latest On Dolphins’ Pursuit Of Jadeveon Clowney

Reports just two days ago suggested that the Dolphins would not trade offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil to the Texans for Jadeveon Clowney, and earlier this week, Miami reportedly assured Tunsil’s camp that the former first-rounder would not be dealt.

However, Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald notes that the Tunsil-to-Houston rumors will not go away. It sounds as if Miami is still strongly considering a Clowney trade, but if the team deals Tunsil — one of the best and most-liked players on the team — Beasley says the Dolphins could have a mutiny on their hands.

Beasley’s source said, “[t]he backlash would be amazing. Guys would legit revolt.”

Beasley added the Fins will only include Tunsil in a Clowney trade if they are blown away by the offer. In other words, Houston would have to send back Clowney and premium draft capital if it wants to land the 25-year-old Ole Miss product. The Texans have been persistent in their efforts to pry Tunsil away, but the Dolphins are holding the line for now.

Miami clearly believes Tunsil can be a key component of its next competitive roster, but a package of draft picks could allow the team to assure itself of one of the top QB prospects in the 2020 draft, which would obviously help accelerate the rebuild. If the Dolphins are convinced to part with Tunsil, though, new HC Brian Flores will apparently face the first real chemistry test of his head coaching career.

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Dolphins Won’t Give Up Laremy Tunsil In Jadeveon Clowney Trade

The Dolphins are interested in Jadeveon Clowney, but they’ll only go so far to get him. The Dolphins are unwilling to part with offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil in any potential trade with the Texans, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter) hears. 

[RELATED: Jadeveon Clowney Wants To Join Eagles Or Seahawks]

That could be a potential roadblock for the Dolphins in their pursuit of Clowney, since the Texans are in need of offensive tackle help. But, as Wilson notes, the Texans could also use assistance at running back after losing Lamar Miller to a season-ending injury. If the Dolphins are willing to discuss tailbacks like Kalen Ballage, that could give them ammo in a Clowney deal.

Clowney, still only 26, has 29 career sacks despite playing in just 60 of 80 possible career games. Most of those missed games came in his rookie season and he has missed just three games in the last three years.

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Dolphins Shopping LB Kiko Alonso, S Reshad Jones

In the midst of a rebuild, the Dolphins are shopping some of their older players. Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald report that Miami has dangled several of their veterans in trade talks.

However, one of the players who hasn’t been shopped is offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Earlier today, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported (via Twitter) that the Dolphins were shopping the 25-year-old, but Jackson and Beasley write that the organization has “assured the Tunsil camp that there is no truth to that.”

Jackson and Beasley note that the front office has received calls about Tunsil, but the team hasn’t acted on any of the inquiries. Further, the reporters write that they personally received a call from a credible source who said “Tunsil’s name had come up in trade discussions,” but it was uncertain whether the Dolphins initiated the calls.

It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Dolphins to move on from Tunsil. The former first-rounder has established himself as an up-and-coming lineman, and he’s under team control for another two seasons. Plus, the team is looking to build their offensive line as they prepare for the future with either Josh Rosen or a 2020 rookie under center. Moving on from one of their assets would contradict that logic.

While Tunsil might not be on the block, the Dolphins have been shopping safety Reshad Jones and linebacker Kiko Alonso. Jackson and Beasley write that rival organizations are expecting Alonso and wideout Kenny Stills to be cut, limiting Miami’s trade flexibility. The Dolphins would also consider offers for linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who could be pushed for playing time by Sam Eguavoen.

The organization kicked off their rebuild this past offseason by moving on from a number of veteran players, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill and linebacker Cameron Wake. The team currently owns 13 draft picks in the 2020 draft.

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Dolphins Interested In Laremy Tunsil Extension

The Dolphins exercised left tackle Laremy Tunsil‘s fifth-year option in April, which keeps the 2016 first-rounder under club control through 2020. However, Miami is apparently interested in working out an extension that would run beyond 2020.

Now that Tunsil has three years of service time, he is eligible for an extension, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that the Fins would like to explore negotiations on a new contract. Miami, of course, is in the early stages of a full rebuild, but Tunsil is young enough that he could be a key part of the club when it returns to competitiveness.

Plus, he plays a critical position and appears to be trending upwards. Pro Football Focus viewed 2018 as Tunsil’s best season, one that ended with the site grading the Ole Miss product as the No. 36 overall tackle. He has started 44 regular-season games in his brief career, moving from left guard to left tackle full-time in 2017. After an infamous pre-draft slide, Tunsil’s career is very much on track.

However, he has yet to make a Pro Bowl, and the Dolphins may want to lock him down now before his price tag continues to grow. Titans OT tackle Taylor Lewan is at the top of the market with a $16MM AAV and $50MM in guarantees, while Dallas’ Tyron Smith currently owns the most valuable contract ($97.2MM).

Tunsil is not at that level just yet, so if he prioritizes long-term security over the biggest payday, the Dolphins may be able to extend him for something like a five-year, $65MM pact with $30-35MM in guarantees.

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