Over the course of the weekend, former NFL GM mike Lombardi noted that the Miami Dolphins could well be in the trade market for an offensive tackle. While this could be the case for several teams, the stars might be perfectly aligning for the Philadelphia Eagles and Andre Dillard.
Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores kind responded to the report on Monday, basically stating that talks are always going to pick up around this time of year, but they’re happy with the guys they have. That may be the case, but it’s the guys they don’t have that’s causing the problem.
Depth is minimal right now. Rookie Liam Eichenberg is reportedly lining up at right guard and moving him back to tackle would leave a gaping hole on the interior. This wouldn’t be the case if former first-round pick D.J. Fluker hat hit the ground running, but he was palced on IR and later waived after picking up a knee injury that required surgery.
There’s no depth on that right hand side as a result and it’s likely that Miami turn to the trade market if they feel a real need to fill that void.
Enter Andre Dillard.
I know, his lone start at right tackle was dreadful, but he could really benefit from a change of scenery. As of right now, he’s being hammered in the battle for the LT1 spot by former seventh-round pick Jordan Mailata. There was no doubting that the Mammoth Aussie had all the momentum coming off of a very strong end to 2020, but at the end of the day, Dillard was a first-round pick and should be more than capable of beating out Mailata… on paper.
The Eagles find themselves in a bit of a pickle. We know that Mailata is in his contract year and that the team would be foolish to let him walk. We also know that Dillard has two years left on his rookie deal and the potential for a fifth-year option. If they were to trade Dillard, they’d only save about $1.6M in cap space, but would give a firm push behind Mailata, showing that they’re ready to go all-in on the tackle they’ll be hoping can keep the blindside of Jalen Hurts protected.
Coincidentally, we also know that the Eagles could benefit from an extra wideout. Depending on what the Eagles would specifically be looking for, taking a flyer on someone such as Allen Hurns. The wiley vet opted out in 2020 due to COVID concerns, which doesn’t exactly help a case that’s already dwindling. However, prior to joining the Cowboys, PFF had Hurns as the 5th best AFC South player from 2017. The 6’1 wideout is currently buried on the Dolphins’ depth chart and could act as a veteran insurance policy behind Travis Fulgham, at least for camp.
The Eagles already have a lot of potential at the WR position, with many shining this summer. If they look to keep six, it would likely displace someone like Greg Ward or Fulgham himself. However, this would be a low-risk, high-reward trade for both teams. If it works out for Miami, they have a young right tackle with a few years on his contract. If it works out for the Eagles, they add a veteran in behind a very young receiving group, while simultaneously ending the battle at Tackle, giving the reins to Jordan Mailata, just like they should.
The only thing stopping a trade like this from becoming a reality is how bad Andre Dillard’s performance against the Seahawks really was. But with that said, he’d never played the right spot before that game and had only done so on a weeks notice. If the Dolphins can find a way to coach him up over the next few weeks, with preseason on the horizon, maybe there’s a happy ending after all.
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