The Miami Dolphins may or may not be trying to gauge trade interest in Dion Jordan. Per Jason La Canfora, the team has been asking around to see what the former No. 3 overall pick might be worth -- a player the Dolphins traded up to acquire less than a year ago, mind you -- but Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 has his doubts. Maybe. It's complicated:
Then told Jordan he was staying, though. Weird. RT @JasonLaCanfora: MIA has been gauging trade value for '13 1st round pick Dion Jordan— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 28, 2014
I seem to have confused some folks on my last retweet. So lemme clarify in the next tweet...— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 28, 2014
I was told Dolphins were shopping Dion Jordan (and more) so followed up on it. Source said Jordan heard same rumors, team told him not true.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 28, 2014
Just to be clear, I'm not reporting Dion Jordan won't be traded. I'm just reporting he's been told he won't be dealt. #BelieveNoOne— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 28, 2014
So the team isn't trying to trade Jordan, but if it is it won't be telling him. Got it.
It'd be odd for an NFL team to give up on a top draft pick so quickly, especially one it gave up an additional second-round pick for and was, in the words of owner Stephen Ross, a "guy you really loved." As the Cleveland Browns seemingly proved last season with Trent Richardson, however, perhaps it's best to cut ties as soon as possible if you believe your purported franchise player won't be living up to the hype.
So is there something wrong with Jordan? He didn't see much playing time as a rookie, getting on the field for just 338 of the Dolphins' 1,145 defensive snaps. Those limited snaps weren't particularly effective, either. He graded as the 28th-best 4-3 defensive end in the league, just barely earning a positive grade by the measurements of Pro Football Focus. Jordan was largely on the field for passing downs, yet earned a negative grade for his pass rushing ability, which was considered a strength.
There were mitigating circumstances, of course. Jordan was held out of the early part of training camp due to a shoulder injury that nagged him throughout the year, and could improve significantly in Year 2 with a full and healthy offseason. A leap forward won't necessarily put him on the field, however.
There's the matter of position. The Dolphins made a confident move to snag Jordan, and are now seemingly unsure whether he is a linebacker or a defensive end. The versatility to play both positions is certainly helpful to Miami, but less so if it means he is a backup-caliber player at two positions instead of just one. Jordan is still undersized to be an every-down defensive end at 6'6, 248 pounds. His range and mobility make him an excellent candidate to stand up, but Miami appears to be plenty happy with Koa Misi at outside linebacker.
The depth chart at defensive end isn't better, where Cameron Wake made the Pro Bowl yet again and Olivier Vernon was a revelation. The latter may be Jordan's biggest obstacle for playing time after he racked up 11.5 sacks last season. Vernon has better size, an extra year of experience and is the younger player by seven months. He won't be relinquishing his spot easily.
The Dolphins are under new management, with Dennis Hickey replacing Jeff Ireland, the man who drafted Jordan, as the team's new general manager. The Dolphins' coaching staff is still intact, but they're presumably the ones who kept Jordan off the field during the season. Jordan's path to the field is hazy barring an impressive showing in camp, so perhaps it does make sense to try and find a suitor.
A first-round pick, like the Browns received for Richardson, may be a lot to ask. Though it appears in hindsight that the Indianapolis Colts overpaid, Richardson at least had a year during which he was given a significant workload. Jordan is still a large, enticing quantity of potential energy, though something less than what he was when he was just coming into the league out of Oregon.
There are plenty of places where Jordan appears to be a better fit -- 3-4 base defenses like the San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals or Philadelphia Eagles, for example -- and the Dolphins could use pieces to address bigger issues than the pass rush, like an offensive line in tatters.
The Browns took the stigma out of trading away a top-10 draft pick after just one year. There's no shame in saying you think you made a mistake, Miami.