Dolphins Rumors

This Date In Transactions History: Dolphins Acquire Junior Seau From Chargers

For a three-year stretch in the mid-2000s, the Dolphins rostered three All-Decade defenders. Eighteen years ago Friday, Miami brought in Junior Seau to start on its Jason Taylor– and Zach Thomas-led defense.

On April 16, 2003, the Dolphins finalized a trade that brought Seau over from San Diego. It took only a conditional draft choice for the Dolphins to acquire the 13-year Chargers starter, who was 34 at the time of the trade. (That pick ended up becoming a fifth-rounder in 2004, which turned into future LaDainian Tomlinson backup and Falcons Pro Bowler Michael Turner.)

The 2003 offseason brought considerable change for the Chargers, who said goodbye to Seau and Rodney Harrison. While these two would end up teammates again in New England, Seau took a three-season detour. The Dolphins brought Seau over to join a defense that had ranked fourth in 2002; it ranked third in ’03, which turned out to be Seau’s best Miami season.

A Chargers first-round pick in 1990, the San Diego native became the greatest defender in franchise history. Seau ventured to 12 straight Pro Bowls from 1991-2002 and was a first-team All-Decade performer in the 1990s. The USC alum was the best player on the Bolts’ Super Bowl XXIX team, pairing elite tackling skills with pass-rushing ability that allowed him to put together three seven-sack seasons despite not working as a pure rusher. The Chargers, however, moved in a different direction in 2003, allowing Seau to seek a trade. The Bolts paid Seau around $2MM of a $2.7MM roster bonus, which was due the day before the trade was finalized.

Seau started 15 games for the ’03 Dolphins. He posted 96 tackles (12 for loss) and three sacks that season, a 10-6 Dolphins campaign that ended with the team just missing the playoffs. However, the Dave Wannstedt-run team could not generate momentum coming out of the season. The Dolphins started 1-9 in 2004 and fired Wannstedt. Seau battled through injuries — a pectoral tear in 2004 and an Achilles malady in ’05 — and was only able to log 15 games in that span. Prior to joining the Dolphins, Seau had not missed more than three games in a season.

The Dolphins released Seau in 2006, and he retired soon after. However, the Patriots pulled him out of retirement and used him as a starter in 2006. Seau played four more seasons, becoming one of the only NFL defenders to enjoy a 20-year career, before retiring for good in 2010. Tragically, Seau died by suicide in 2012. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2015.

Dolphins, Rams Join Teams Skipping Offseason Workouts

Half the NFL teams have now pledged not to attend voluntary offseason workouts. Well, the bulk of the players on those teams have. The Dolphins and Rams became the latest to do so.

Both teams issued statements Friday, via the NFLPA (on Twitter), indicating their players will not attend the start of the NFL’s offseason workouts. This year’s program is scheduled to start Monday. The Dolphins and Rams are the 15th and 16th teams to have released statements indicating most or all of their players will not be in attendance.

Neither the Dolphins nor the Rams offered the “many players will not attend” caveat, as some teams have, and they will move forward with virtual programs. No on-field work can take place until May 17, the second phase of the offseason itineraries, but teams can begin work at their respective facilities from April 19 through May 14.

Last year, the NFL and NFLPA came to an agreement — in the initial months of the pandemic — the offseason would be entirely virtual. The NFLPA is pushing for that arrangement to continue, even as COVID-19 vaccines are now available. A rookie minicamp will be part of the on-field workouts that begin in Phase 2, so it will be interesting to see how teams’ rookie draftees and UDFAs proceed.

Here are the teams that have issued statements regarding their players’ intention not to attend offseason programs:

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Dolphins Still Searching For Center

The Dolphins made an offer to center David Andrews even after signing Matt Skura, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Andrews ultimately wound up back with the Patriots, but Jackson hears the Dolphins are still in the search for center support. 

[RELATED: David Andrews Chooses Pats Over ‘Fins]

Andrews missed all of 2019 with a pulmonary embolism, but he managed to return for the 2020 season. Even though he missed a handful of games with a thumb injury, he suited up in 72% of the Pats’ offensive snaps across 12 games.

Presumably, the Dolphins were willing to give Andrews a deal that was in the neighborhood of his new Pats contract – $19MM over four years with $6.5MM fully guaranteed. Meanwhile, Skura was signed for just $1.75MM on a one-year deal. Between Skura’s struggles and his injury history, it’s a safe bet that he won’t be handed the starting job in South Beach.

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Dolphins To Sign John Jenkins

The Dolphins already signed Adam Butler to help replace fellow defensive tackle Davon Godchaux after he signed with the Patriots, and now they’re adding another. Miami has agreed to terms with free agent John Jenkins, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald confirmed on Twitter.

Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post was first to tweet the news. Financial terms weren’t immediately available, but it’s a one-year deal for Jenkins. The Georgia product was originally drafted by the Saints back in 2013. He started 12 games for New Orleans in 2015, but was released midway through the 2016 season and quickly scooped up by the Seahawks.

After that brief stint with Seattle he signed with the Bears, then the Giants, before landing with the Dolphins in 2019. He appeared in all 16 games that year, starting five and racking up 34 tackles and a sack. He signed back with Chicago last season and played a rotational role. Miami will likely be looking for him to play a similar rotational role on running downs.

Contract Details: Rhodes, Johnson, Abdullah, Roberts, Moreau

Let’s catch up on the latest batch of financial terms from recent free agent deals:

  • Colts CB Xavier Rhodes: One-year, $4.77MM. $3.75MM fully guaranteed salary, $1.02MM in per game active roster bonuses. $1.75MM in additional playing time, interception, and Pro Bowl incentives, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). This was originally reported as a one-year, $6.5MM pact, but it looks like that’ll only be the case if he hits those incentives.
  • Titans CB Kevin Johnson: One-year, $2.25MM. $2MM guaranteed, with a $1MM salary and $1MM signing bonus. $250K in per game active roster bonuses, via Wilson on Twitter. We didn’t have any word on compensation initially, and it turns out Tennessee got the former first-rounder for a pretty reasonable price.
  • Vikings RB Ameer Abdullah: One-year, $990K. Non-guaranteed. Via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter. Terms of the deal weren’t previously reported, but the Vikings got the former second-rounder back for a non-guaranteed vet minimum contract.
  • Dolphins LB Elandon Roberts: One-year, $1.995MM. $1.345MM salary, $650K signing bonus, plus $750K in incentives available, via Field Yates of ESPN on Twitter. We also didn’t have any terms for Roberts, and he ended up getting some decent money to return to Miami.
  • Falcons CB Fabian Moreau: One-year, $1.127MM. $987.5K guaranteed. $137.5K signing bonus, $990K salary ($850K guaranteed), via Wilson on Twitter. Finishing things up with one more cornerback we were missing terms on. Moreau, a part-time starter for Washington the past few years, got just above the minimum, although it’s almost entirely guaranteed at least.

Dolphins Received 4 Offers For No. 3 Pick?

The Dolphins’ trade decisions Friday did well to shake up the first round of the upcoming draft. They moved out of the No. 3 overall spot — their placement because of the 2019 Laremy Tunsil trade — to acquire two future first-round picks from the 49ers and then dealt one of those selections to the Eagles to move back into the top 10 this year.

San Francisco’s offer, however, was just one of the proposals Miami received for the No. 3 pick this offseason. The Dolphins are believed to have received four offers for the No. 3 selection within the past few weeks, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. The 49ers also held talks with the Falcons and Bengals for the Nos. 4 and 5 selections, respectively.

GM Chris Grier opted to wait until closer to the draft to accept the proposal, but the Dolphins capitalized on what is expected to be a historic quarterback-heavy start to this draft. The 49ers moving up also puts other QB-seeking teams in more difficult spots. And in moving back up to No. 6, Miami will be in position to take one of the top non-QBs in this year’s draft. The Dolphins were not planning to select another quarterback as a potential Tua Tagovailoa contingency plan, and they confirmed this by moving down.

The likes of Ja’Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts and DeVonta Smith should be considered potential Dolphins targets. No draft has ever begun with four straight quarterbacks being taken; the Falcons adding an heir apparent for Matt Ryan would put the Bengals in position to draft the top non-QB available at 5.

The Dolphins still hold the No. 18 overall pick in this year’s draft, and they now have the 49ers’ first-rounder in 2023. The 2022 first-rounder the Dolphins sent the Eagles was their own, Jackson adds. The 2022 first-rounder Miami still holds originally belonged to San Francisco.

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NFL Contract Details: Fuller, Ford, Barr, Pats

As free agency’s second wave continues, here are the latest contract details from around the league:

  • 49ers DE Dee Ford: Two years, $24MM. $11.6MM guaranteed, with $4.6MM of that sum due in 2022, David Lombardi and Matt Barrows of The Athletic note (subscription required). Ford’s 2021 guarantees ($7MM) include a $4MM base salary. Ford’s contract also includes a void year (2023).
  • Dolphins WR Will Fuller: One year, $10.63MM. Contract maxes out at $13.63MM, with $3MM available in performance-based incentives, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Fuller will receive a $9.6MM signing bonus and is due a $990K base salary.
  • Vikings LB Anthony Barr: One year, fully guaranteed $9.4MM. $8.4MM signing bonus, $1MM base salary. Barr’s cap number will drop to $6.1MM. Contract includes $3MM in sack-based incentives and features two void years, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling (all Twitter links).
  • Patriots T Trent Brown: Fully guaranteed $6.5MM base salary, up to $2MM in per-game roster bonuses, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Contract can climb to $11MM based on the roster bonuses, $1MM for 90% playing time, $1MM for a Pro Bowl nod and $500K in weight incentives. Brown must stay under 380 pounds, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets.
  • Bills DE Mario Addison: $4.1MM base salary in 2021, $3.25MM of that is guaranteed, Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic tweets. Addison is also due a $1.9MM roster bonus. His contract will now void after 2021.
  • Colts T Sam Tevi: One year, $2.51MM. $1MM guaranteed, $1.5MM base salary. The deal also includes $1MM in playing-time incentives, Wilson tweets.

Dolphins Trade No. 3 Pick To 49ers, Send No. 12 To Eagles

The Dolphins have agreed to trade the No. 3 overall pick to the 49ers for the No. 12 pick, a 2021 third-rounder, and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). The Niners may use the choice to select their next quarterback, though sources tell Schefter that Jimmy Garoppolo will be staying put. 

Meanwhile, the Dolphins quickly pivoted towards another blockbuster of their own, dealing that No. 12 overall choice, No. 123, and a 2022 first-round pick to the Eagles in exchange for Nos. 6 and 156. In effect, the Dolphins secured future first-round ammo in exchange for moving from No. 3 to No. 6. From here, the can use their bevy of picks to build around Tua Tagovailoa — or swing another blockbuster for a veteran QB.

The 49ers are moving to No. 3 with the expectation that the Jaguars will take Trevor Lawrence first overall. At No. 2, many believe the Jets will go QB as well — perhaps BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields. After that, the Niners would have their pick of the litter. Even if Garoppolo remains, they could weigh Wilson or Fields (depending on which is still available), North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, or Alabama’s Mac Jones.

At No. 12, the Eagles are unlikely to have most of those QBs on the table. By dropping six spots, it appears that the Eagles are ready to move forward with Jalen Hurts in 2021. They also have a 2022 first-round pick — the Dolphins’ original choice – that they can use to fill other gaps. The Birds have been connected to Wilson for a while. But, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport explains (Twitter link), GM Howie Roseman ultimately felt that adding a future first-rounder would be better for the team in the long run.

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Dolphins Won’t Draft Tagovailoa Replacement

Before sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against Deshaun Watson, the Dolphins were among the favorites to land the Texans’ signal-caller (if Houston actually agreed to trade him, of course). If that happened, then Miami’s own QB, Tua Tagovailoa, would either be in Houston as part of the trade return or playing second fiddle to Watson on the Dolphins’ bench.

While a Watson trade seems like an impossibility at this point, there has been plenty of chatter that Miami could nonetheless seek a Tagovailoa upgrade in the draft. The club is armed with the No. 3 and No. 18 overall selections, and while Trevor Lawrence will be selected by the Jaguars at No. 1 overall, the Dolphins could be in a position to land a passer like BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields.

But as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes, the Dolphins will not draft a Tagovailoa replacement in this year’s draft. Salguero says the consensus in the scouting community is that the club is not looking to draft a QB with the No. 3 pick, and that Miami might even trade down from that selection in order to accumulate even more draft capital. As such, unless they’re absolutely in love with Alabama’s Mac Jones or another collegiate QB that could be available later on in the first round, the Dolphins appear set to roll with their second-year southpaw. Apparently, the only quarterback they would have considered to replace Tagovailoa would have been Watson.

GM Chris Grier said back in January that Tagovailoa would be the team’s starter — though he did decline to say whether the team would consider drafting a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick — and head coach Brian Flores said earlier this month that he was excited to work with his young passer. As expected, though, that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from churning.

After all, Tagovailoa had something of an up-and-down rookie campaign, and Flores turned to Ryan Fitzpatrick as a “reliever” during several of Tagovailoa’s more difficult outings. But the No. 5 overall pick of the 2020 draft also showed some flashes, and he will be given a chance to make a sophomore leap.

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Latest On FA OL Isaiah Wilson

Things aren’t looking up for Isaiah Wilson. We learned today that the embattled lineman was arrested back in January following “a high-speed car chase” in Georgia (via ESPN’s Turron Davenport).

According to the police report, an officer witnessed a car driving at speeds of 123 mph, leading to a pursuit. The chase was eventually called off when speeds exceeded 140 mph. The car ultimately crashed, and after observing Wilson emerge from the car’s sunroof, an ICE officer placed the player under arrest. A female was also in the vehicle and was arrested after police found a metal grinder filled with marijuana.

Per Davenport, Wilson was charged with “felony fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, speeding in a construction zone, reckless driving, reckless conduct, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, and possession and use of drug-related objects.”

The 29th overall pick of last year’s draft, Wilson was traded from the Titans to Miami earlier this month. It didn’t take him long to fall out of favor with his new team, as he allegedly “refused team efforts to help him to get his life on track.” The Dolphins decided to cut bait with the lineman this past weekend, and the 22-year0old passed through waivers unclaimed. According to Davenport, the Dolphins were aware of Wilson’s arrest prior to making the trade.

The offensive lineman from Georgia appeared in just one game as a rookie, playing only three offensive snaps, and was also suspended at one point for a violation of team rules. Considering his age and draft pedigree, Wilson will probably get a final chance from another organization, but continued off-the-field issues won’t help his case.

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