The Miami Dolphins are not dealing with a locker-room uprising or multiple trade requests, contrary to a report, but the team is likely to be moving on from 2018 first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, perhaps as soon as this week. That trade would signal the end of the club’s teardown and draft-pick accumulation, team and league sources said, ahead of what will be a lengthy rebuild.
Fitzpatrick, a dynamic and versatile defensive back who has yet to find a stable role in Miami’s new defense under rookie head coach Brian Flores, is the only Dolphin currently requesting a trade, sources said, and his agent, Joel Segal, has permission to shop him around the league. Numerous clubs are interested in the former Alabama standout, and while agreeing on trade compensation will take some time, several league sources indicated they would not be surprised if something got done before Week 3.
According to league sources, roughly 20 teams have reached out to Segal and/or the Dolphins about Fitzpatrick, with the team seeking a future first-round pick for him at this point. The asking price could change depending on the strength of the offers.
Miami, after decades of being perpetually stuck in the middle of the NFL pack, is attempting a full-scale overhaul in hopes of building a young and talented team that can truly compete on a sustained basis. It began with an extended purge of veteran players (many on bloated contracts) and free agents this offseason, with general manager Chris Grier trying to clear out payroll and cap space for the long haul while also accruing as much draft capital as possible and identifying cornerstone players for the future from the current roster.
The exodus was essentially complete with the trade of starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills before the season, but Fitzpatrick’s unhappiness with his role and concerns with the staff led Miami to address his trade demand. Dolphins brass is not contacting other teams seeking a deal, but if Segal can broker something to their liking they will move on from him. Safety Reshad Jones, 31, has drawn some interest from teams in the past, but his $13M makes a trade prohibitive and at this point he is expected to finish the season in Miami.
Flores has endured a difficult beginning to his tenure, losing Jim Caldwell, his top assistant and the man charged with running the offense, to a health-related issue before the season, firing his offensive line coach a week into camp, dealing with a rift between Stills and owner Stephen Ross and suffering a 59-10 defeat at the hands of the Ravens in Week 1. Fitzpatrick, who is viewed by some teams as a true slot corner and by others as more of a free safety, played just 63 percent of the defensive snaps in Week 1 and did start the game (Miami opened in a nickel package) after ending the 2018 season playing roughly 98 percent of the snaps down the stretch.
The Dolphins are widely expected to be in contention for the first-overall pick, given their inexperienced roster and coaching staff, and have multiple first-round selections the next two years, with 2020 very likely to be a trying campaign as well.