MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins never lack for storylines, and even without a first-round draft pick, they were very much on-brand at their pre-draft news conference Wednesday.
General manager Chris Grier, his top lieutenant Marvin Allen, and four-time Pro Bowler Xavien Howard all fed the media beast with interesting answers to reporters’ questions. Here’s a rundown of the top Miami Dolphins news to emerge from their media availabilities.
Miami Dolphins Rumors: Trade Talk
Is the Dalvin Cook chatter real? Will the Dolphins move Cedrick Wilson? Who’s their KR1 in 2023? How about their starting right tackle?
We explore it all — plus, Howard gets candid after a season that fell short of his standard.
Dolphins Trade Chatter
The Dolphins pick 51st overall, but that hasn’t stopped Grier and Allen from evaluating players with first-round grades (including quarterbacks, although they committed to Tua Tagovailoa — who is owed $32.8 million fully guaranteed over the next two seasons — yet again Wednesday).
And perhaps that hard work won’t be for naught. Grier said that teams in the second half of the first round have reached out to the Dolphins about possibly trading up.
“We’ve had a couple of teams in the bottom half of the first round reach out, saying they would be interested in coming down possibly if their guys aren’t there, and if we’d be interested in moving,” Grier said. “So for us, again, any opportunities we can to get a player, we’ll look at it. So no serious conversations but we’ve had those and we’ll keep those options open.”
Our take: It’s unlikely that the Dolphins make such a move for a number of reasons.
The draft is top-heavy, but after the first 10-15 picks, there are not a ton of first-round-worthy players.
It’s entirely possible the player the Dolphins take at 51 will be better than the player selected at, say, pick No. 20.
Any team looking to move that far back would presumably want a lot to do so. The Dolphins would be foolish to surrender a first-rounder to move up, and that might be the asking price.
Latest on Dalvin Cook, Cedrick Wilson
More trade chatter: Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson is almost assuredly on the trade block.
If his contract-to-production ratio (he’s owed $7 million in base salary in 2023 after catching 12 passes last year) and their decision to sign Chosen Anderson over the weekend weren’t enough to convince you, Grier’s response to our question about Wilson’s status with the team Wednesday should be.
“We’ve had teams call and ask about him,” Grier said. “We’re not shopping him but teams have called. And especially when we just added Chosen, we’ve had a couple of teams reach out. He’s a really good guy and I’m trying to do right by him because of how he’s handled himself on and off the field.”
Doing right by Wilson would be trading him to a team like the Packers, Chiefs, Titans, Cowboys, or Patriots, who all have real needs at the position.
One hypothetical making the rounds on social media is that the Dolphins will trade Wilson to the Vikings for Dalvin Cook — the star running back whose job is far from secure due to a big salary of his own.
But that trade doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons — all contract-related. Just as the Dolphins have already signaled that they’re in no rush to take on Cook’s $10.4 million salary, the Vikings probably aren’t inclined to pay Wilson $7 million to be, at best, their No. 2 receiver.
As we wrote Tuesday, Grier’s news conference was an opportunity to provide some clarity on the team’s interest in Cook. He didn’t. But Allen did — to a degree. When asked if the Dolphins were done adding players at the running back position, Allen replied tellingly:
“We’re looking at all opportunities to bring in good football players” and are open to adding to the position if the right opportunity arises.
Any Dolphins opportunity with Cook will surely begin with him being OK with taking less money than he’s earning now.
Xavien Howard Bounce-Back Year?
Howard, speaking to reporters for the first time since the season ended, wasn’t thrilled that he made the Pro Bowl on reputation.
His 2022 season was not what he had hoped it would be — allowing a 101.2 passer rating in his coverage area and 9.3 yards per target — but still earned enough votes from fans, players, and coaches to get in.
“I really didn’t like it,” Howard said Wednesday. “My expectations, I feel like it wasn’t Pro Bowl caliber. Even though I made it, I was like OK. But it made me even push harder. Like I don’t want to get in like that.”
While Howard didn’t use it as an excuse at the time, groin injuries that began in Week 2 and really didn’t heal until after the season were a factor.
“Just seeing people saying I’m washed, I’m getting older and stuff like that,” Howard said. “Just a little bit of motivation. People are going to say this and say that. I’ve been proving the critics wrong my whole life so it’s nothing new.”
With Jalen Ramsey now in the fold, Howard can expect plenty of quarterbacks to test him in 2023.
More Miami Dolphins News
- A month after picking up Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option, it doesn’t sound as though the Dolphins are in any rush to lock him up beyond 2024. “We’ve had a lot of internal discussions between Mike [McDaniel], Marvin, Brandon [Shore], Steve [Ross], Tom Garfinkel as well,” Grier said. “All options are on the table.”
- Austin Jackson will have one more chance to prove he’s a starting-caliber tackle for the Miami Dolphins. The team is projecting to start Jackson, the former first-round pick who is in the final year of his rookie contract, at right tackle and keep Robert Hunt at right guard.
- Braxton Berrios, one of nine wide receivers currently on the Dolphins’ roster, is penciled in as their primary returner and will compete to be the team’s slot receiver.
Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast
Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Dolphins Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Dolphins Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.