The Miami Dolphins shocked many people earlier in the week when they traded away second-year defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers.It was stunning to see Fitzpatrick not only request but to be actually be dealt after just over one season with the team, as the Dolphins should have had leverage with Fitzpatrick only being in the second season of his rookie deal.
However, after recent reports have come out from the team with many players being unhappy with the direction of the team this season, it’s not a shock that Fitzpatrick, a two-time national champion in college, wanted to exit the situation. With that deal done we can now move forward this season, not simply to the rest of the games but the rest of the moves we could see. In this new era of player empowerment in sports, we’ve mainly seen NBA players take control of their own destiny and dictate where they play.
Now we are seeing it slowly grow in the NFL, Antonio Brown nixing the trade to Buffalo earlier in the year and now this Fitzpatrick deal. We’ve also seen this happen with contracts in the cases of Ezekiel Elliot and Le’Veon Bell. Entering this season we were all expecting on the field surprises, but now are eyes will turn to the off the field situations as well.
Here are five more unexpected moves that we could potentially see this season.
5. Melvin Gordon III, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
The other significant running back holdout before the start of the 2019 season, and probably the most expected move on this list, Melvin Gordon and the Chargers still have no progress on contract talks. Like Bell last season and Elliot this summer, Gordon wants to be compensated for the work he’s done the Chargers. He’s totaled 38 total touchdowns the last three seasons and has had at least 1,300 yards from scrimmage each season as well, while he may not be a Bell, Elliot, or Gurley, Gordon has shown he is a talented running back.
Now the question remains will he play this season and for what team. Recent reports show that Gordon and the Chargers are not on the best of terms and Gordon is accepting of the fact that he likely could get traded. The question remains what team and how much will they pay Gordon? Unlike the Elliot holdout, Gordon is on his fifth-year option year on his deal, meaning that he will be a free agent. Therefore Gordon will likely have to agree to a contract for another team to be willing to give up a valuable asset.
That will be the ultimate delaying factor in what the Chargers can do with Gordon and how quickly they can get things done. However, it is more likely than not we will see Gordon on a new team, the only mystery is when will that happen.
4. Josh Rosen, QB, Miami Dolphins
Let’s be honest, the Dolphins aren’t done trading players away for assets, not by a long shot. Newly announced starter Josh Rosen is in a unique position with the Dolphins, he was already traded by the Cardinals who were going to use the first overall pick on a quarterback. Now he finds himself on a team that is tanking on the season because they likely plan to draft a quarterback with the first overall pick that they are favored to get.
It’s natural to feel bad for Rosen for what he’s had to deal with since last season, but this also presents a unique opportunity for both him and the Dolphins. While the Dolphins are not in a much better position than the Cardinals were last season, Rosen can still use this as the starter to show he has improved upon last season.
Any semblance of improved play will show us that Rosen could be a competent quarterback at the NFL level, and that would also bring good things for the Dolphins. If they are going to draft Tua Tagovailoa with the number one which they are expected to do, good play from Rosen would allow them to reflip him for a draft pick that at the least they could add into a trade.
While it might seem like a stretch for the Dolphins to trade Rosen before they have their next quarterback on the roster, but considering the Fitzpatrick trade, nothing should be considered off the table when it comes to them.
3. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Now this trade would be a fun one. A.J. Green has been what of the best receivers of the last decade. He has been the definitive number one option for the Bengals since his rookie season in 2011 and has proved he is one of the best and most reliable in the game.
He’s had six 1,000 yard receiving seasons and has been named to the pro bowl seven times despite never having caught 100 passes in a season. However, the Bengals as a whole and not been succesful in recent years. The team last made the playoffs in 2015 and are unlikely to make it again this season.
The recent years of no success finally contributed to the team firing now-former coach Marvin Lewis and ushering in a new era to the team. Every new era calls for change and moving on from A.J. Green would be a strong signal that the Bengals are transitioning.
It would be a nice way to reward Green for his years of service and production to the team and could give the 31-year-old a chance to be on a true contender for the first time in his career.
The two main factors that would delay a move for Green would be him having to return from injury and the Bengals likely not wanting to move their star receiver.
Considering their history of the Bengals and how they usually don’t let names go easily it is unlikely they’d want to willingly trade Green, but it would still be a nice move reinvigoration for Greens’ career.
2. Jamal Adams, S, New York Jets
This idea follows the mold of what happened with Minkah Fitzpatrick and the number one name on this list. Jamal Adams is clearly not happy with how the Jets 2019 season is unfolding. Since taking a 16-0 lead against the Bills the team has been outscored 40-3 and are 0-2 on the season. They’ve also lost second-year quarterback Sam Darnold for a few weeks due to mononucleosis and linebacker C.J. Mosley missed the week 2 game versus the Browns due to injury.
We’ve already seen one defensive back frustrated and request a trade from a team starting 0-2 and while Adams has denied wanting out at this point, who’s to say this won’t come up again. Over the next four weeks, the Jets face the Patriots twice, the Eagles, and the Cowboys. There is a realistic chance that they could start 0-6 on the season, and another lost season early in his career could be enough to dissuade Adams and make him request a trade.
This recent swing of player empowerment we are seeing make its way into the NFL has already left its mark and Adams could easily add his name to the list of players dictating their futures if things go from terrible to worse for the Jets this season.
1. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Now this entry is simply due to the sheer level of talent that Jalen Ramsey possesses.
It would be a testament to stubborn management ideals and poor decision making if the Jaguars actually traded Jalen Ramsey and don’t try to smooth things over with him. Rasmey is understandably not happy with the 1-2 start to the season and his frustrations are clear but they are not with the coaching staff.
Recent reports show that Ramsey is not happy with how Tom Coughlin manages the team and that is ultimately the deciding factor in his decision to want out. Looking at his tenure in Jacksonville as a whole, it’s not a pure surprise that Ramsey would want out and that Coughlin would be willing to trade him, Coughlin wasn’t a fan of all the trash talk Ramsey did before last season and is known to frustrate talented players.
The only thing that may delay the trade would be if offers are not up to the Jaguars liking, in part due to the winner of a “Jalen Ramsey sweepstakes” would also have to make him the highest-paid defensive back in the league in order to keep him long term.
However, ultimately the Jags will likely find someone willing to take and pay that talent that is Ramsey, and it will say a lot about the Jaguars organization that they were actually willing to trade this talented of a player over a conflict of attitudes.