Posted: July 20, 2008
The Miami Dolphins finally have managed to unload defensive end Jason Taylor, sending him to the Washington Redskins for a second-round pick in 2009 and a sixth-rounder in 2010.
But what does the deal mean, other than the obvious change in laundry for the NFL's 2006 defensive player of the year? Well, it means a lot of things -- 10, to be precise (no more, no less):
1. No Brett Favre for Washington. The Redskins uncharacteristically had $8 million in cap space as of Sunday morning. As of Sunday night, that was more than enough to absorb Taylor's $7.5 million base salary for 2008.
But now the 'Skins are left with less than $1 million to sign future replacements. As a practical matter, they'd have a hard time squeezing Brett Favre's $12 million salary under the current spending limit. Even if Favre agreed to a steep pay cut, the 'Skins would have to scramble to create cap space.
2. End of the road for Daniels. The only good news for Phillip Daniels, whose ACL tear Sunday morning sparked the Taylor trade, is that he'll get his $1.1 million base salary for 2008. If he had performed poorly in camp without getting injured, and if the Redskins had opted to trade for Taylor then, Daniels could have been released and he would have gotten none of his base pay.
It's unlikely, though, that Daniels will see the $4 million he's due to earn over the final two years of his deal in 2009 and 2010. At 35 and with Taylor's huge contract now on the books, Daniels most likely will be the odd man out next year.
3. Dan Snyder reverts to form. Over the past two years, the Redskins owner has resisted making a big splash. Sure, he reportedly would have gotten receiver Chad Johnson if the Bengals had been willing to move him, but Snyder hadn't been as reckless with money and draft picks in pursuit of free agents as he was earlier in his tenure.
But Snyder instantly mobilized after an injury to an aging defensive lineman. It's almost as if Snyder had a secret deal with himself that he'd resist the temptation to trade for Taylor unless and until one of the team's ends got hurt.
Why else would the Redskins have pounced so quickly on a guy whom they could have gotten back in April for not much (if any) more than they gave up Sunday? By moving so quickly, they likely gave up too much.
Indeed, who were the Redskins bidding against? Unless the move was made purely out of panic, this thing looks to be the result of a return to form by Mr. Snyder.
4. The Fins and Taylor got wise. Taylor's trade value plummeted after that goofy press he called in May. He said that he planned to play only one more season, which scared off most of his suitors. And it became increasingly obvious that the Dolphins and Taylor couldn't coexist, which meant the Fins would be far less credible when saying to an interested team, "Give us that second-round pick or we'll just keep him."
But then the two sides publicly kissed and made up. It appeared that the Dolphins were willing to keep Taylor and that Taylor was warming to the idea of staying. His recent concession that he might have no choice but to play for the Dolphins in 2008 might have been the thing that persuaded the Redskins that, if push came to shove, the Dolphins would keep Taylor, and Taylor would play for them.
5. Tuna is a Cowboys fan again. With the Dolphins now holding the Redskins' second-round pick for 2009, folks in Miami have every reason to root against them. The worse the 'Skins finish, the higher they'll pick in each round.
As a result, Fins VP of football operations Bill Parcells will have every reason to break out his old Cowboys gear. And his old Giants gear. And to root for every other team on Washington's schedule when they are playing Washington.
6. Keep an eye on Calais. Back in April, defensive line was a clear need for the Redskins, especially in light of what the 2007 Giants were able to prove to the rest of the NFL about the value of a dominant front four. While the Redskins opted not to trade for Taylor before the draft, they also chose not to use their first-round pick (which they traded to the Falcons) or any of their three second-round picks on an end.
Instead, the Redskins picked receiver Devin Thomas and tight end Fred Davis in Round 2 at a time when Miami defensive end Calais Campbell was still on the board.
If Campbell becomes a stud in Arizona, the Redskins rightly should be criticized for ignoring this area of need and then putting themselves in a position where they had no choice but to give up next year's second-rounder for an aging pass rusher who might or might not have anything left in the tank.
7. Keep an eye on Quentin, too. The Redskins used all three of those second-round picks while Auburn defensive end Quentin Groves was still available. Regarded by some scouts as a potential locker-room problem, the Jaguars nevertheless pounced on him at 52nd overall, even after trading into the top 10 of the first round to get defensive end Derrick Harvey.
So if Groves turns out to be a monster, the 'Skins again should be criticized for using a trio of picks on offensive positions that generally were under control when the importance of having a strong pass rush couldn't have been any more clear.
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