Monday, July 21, 2008

Taylor-made trade

So Jason Taylor is now on the Redskins for the reasonable ransom of Miami's second-rounder next year, and a sixth-rounder in the 2010 draft. The debate has begun as to who won - who made out best at the end of the day.

Let's begin by noting that no one will really know, of these two teams, who the real winner is for a couple of years, but here are some thoughts on the trade...

In the long run, it's likely that the Dolphins were winners here if you consider the following...a second rounder and a sixth rounder used right can amount to some significant long-term help. Consider Matt Light (2nd rounder) and Tom Brady (6th rounder), or Adalius Thomas (6th rounder) and Lawyer Milloy (2nd rounder) - all of those are players that have contributed long-term in the NFL. Especially considering Jason Taylor's expressed intent to retire at the end of next season, the Dolphins team has a chance to make this trade work out well for them - but that depends on Bill Parcells' ability to buy the right groceries.

As for the Redskins...well, sure, they get a six time pro-bowler, but this isn't the first time under Dan Snyder's watch that the 'Skins have brought in a multiple pro-bowler...Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Jerome Mathis, and Mark Brunell are a small cross-section of the high end players that the Snyder regime has brought in. They are members of a fraternity of Washington players that accounted for 26 pro-bowls previous to signing with Snyder in the nation's capital (Taylor will bring the number to 32).

The 'Skins, of course, are hoping to break that jinx with Taylor, but even if they do, they're only getting a season, maybe two from him. I would be surprised if he played any longer, given his very public sentiments to get involved in other post-career endeavors. Given the division, and everything the 'Skins have going against them, I don't see Taylor in a significantly better situation...

Yes, the Redskins made great strides last season finishing third in the NFC East with a 9-7 record - this in spite of a quarterback who often looked not-quite-ready for prime time. However, they are starting from scratch with a new coaching staff and a new system in a division in which they have the fourth best quarterback and an unproven commodity at coach.

Taylor now finds himself anchoring a defense on a team looking up at the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the defending NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys, and perennial contender Philadelphia Eagles.

Let's look at it a little differently - if Taylor had his choice of teams, rather than being shipped in a trade, yet still limiting it to the NFC East, is he choosing the team with Super Bowl winning coach Tom Coughlin? The team with Andy Reid, the only coach to go to the NFC Championship Game four consecutive seasons? Or Wade Phillips who has had only one losing season as a head coach? Or Jim Zorn, a career coordinator? I'm guessing it's not the last one.

So, who is really the winner in this case?

I don't think it's either the 'Skins who get a one year rental or the 'Phins who get question marks.


It's Tom Brady and Matt Light.

While the Patriots have beaten the Dolphins pretty regularly over the last couple of years, the games against them have been about a struggle. Jason Taylor has been a big part of that, making life miserable twice a year for Brady and Light and now he's gone.

They win.

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