The 2018 NFL league year doesn’t start for almost two weeks, yet there has already been three reportedly agreed upon trades. On Friday, the Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins agreed to their second trade in the last year involving a defensive lineman.
Last season the Rams sent Williams Haynes and a seventh round pick to the Dolphins in exchange for a sixth round pick. Now they reportedly have a deal in place that will send Robert Quinn and a sixth round pick to the Dolphins for a fourth and sixth round picks. While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, the belief is the Dolphins will send their own fourth round pick, as opposed to the one they acquired in the Jay Ajayi trade. Both teams are expected to swap their own sixth round picks.
After the Rams switched to a 3-4 defense under Wade Phillips last season, Quinn was forced to play in a two-point stance and struggled with it. With the Dolphins, Quinn will go back to playing defensive end in their 4-3 defense, where he is far more comfortable.
The Rams tried to trade Quinn to the Chiefs as part of the Marcus Peters trade, so this trade isn’t surprising. By trading Quinn and replacing Trumaine Johnson with Peters, the Rams have now quietly worked their way into the top 10 of projected cap space.
#Rams have very quietly moved into the top 8 or 9 in cap space. Have to think they are targeting someone.
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) March 2, 2018
With this much cap space, the Rams have a good chance at retaining both Lamarcus Joyner and Sammy Watkins. However, this trade leaves the Rams with a critical need for pass rushers, and that should be their positional target in round one of the draft. Some possible options for the Rams at pick 23 include: Marcus Davenport, Harold Landry, and Lorenzo Carter.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins are projected to be $19.5 million dollars over the cap after placing the franchise tag on Jarvis Landry and with Quinn’s 2018 cap number of about $11.5 million dollars. I expect the Dolphins to work on an extension for Quinn to lower his cap number. Even with an extension for Quinn, this trade likely means the end of Landry’s time in Miami. The Dolphins almost certainly have to trade Landry and work out an extension with Quinn before the league year starts on March 12th.
For the Rams, this is a smart move. Quinn’s production has dropped off over the past three season where he had just 17.5 sacks in 32 games. By comparison, in the three seasons prior Quinn had 40 sacks in 48 games. With two years and over $22 million dollars left on his deal, the Rams have better ways to use that cap space.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins are hoping a chance of scenery will bring back the old version of Quinn. However; there isn’t a team with a more messy cap situation, so trading for Quinn when they already have Cameron Wake and last year’s first round pick Charles Harris at defensive makes little sense for the Dolphins. But assuming the Dolphins can get an extension done with Quinn and lower his cap number they will have the best pass rush trio in the AFC East.
So who won this trade? Honestly this seems like a fair deal for both teams. The Rams were likely to cut Quinn if they couldn’t trade him, so getting a fourth round pick back after trading their own away in the Peters deal is a good return. The Dolphins will need to trade Landry and lower Quinn’s cap number in order to make this work. However, Landry was already going to be traded and if Quinn can recapture his 2012-2014 season form, the Dolphins got a steal for a fourth round pick.