MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The NFL trade deadline is usually snooze-worthy, but the 2017 version has been like an air horn in a library.
News broke during the 9:00 AM ET hour on Tuesday that the Miami Dolphins had traded star running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth round pick. While there have been rumors of the Dolphins pondering a shakeup, no one saw Ajayi being the guy on the trading block. The news came as a shock.
The Joe Rose Show was live on the air on 560 WQAM when the story broke. Joe Rose and Zach Krantz reacted on air with what can only be described as a unique mix of surprise, confusion, and denial, followed by the consummate professionalism of a couple guys trying to explain why something like this would happen.
Joe Rose: “I didn’t see that one coming. He’s a young running back, and I thought he ran hard the whole time behind that offensive line. A fourth round pick for a 24 year old running back?
Zach Krantz: “Wow. Holy Moly!”
Krantz was clearly at a loss for words, but rallied to stick the landing.
“He’s only averaging 66 and a half yards per game but the average yards per rush has gone down a yard a half from last year, Krantz added. “No rushing touchdowns. But, I can’t blame him for the offensive line.”
As it turns out, the move probably had a lot more to do with Ajayi’s long term health than his effort on the field. His knees were a concern in 2015 when he was drafted, with some teams reportedly taking him off their draft board completely, thinking he only had a four or five year window for an NFL career.
Omar Kelly from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, who broke the Ajayi news on Tuesday morning, joined Joe and Zach to shed some light.
Omar Kelly: “[Ajayi] only practices one day a week because of the concerns about his knee. They felt comfortable enough to move on from him at this point. They need to make changes and send the right messages to players in the locker room. It seems like they got rid of a disgruntled player.”
You’ll recall Ajayi being left home from Miami’s Week 1 trip to Seattle back in 2016 after rumored verbal spats with coaches. While it seemed like he’d meshed with coaches since then and put those days behind him, there could be more to this story in 2017 than meets the eye.
Plus, according to Kelly, the Dolphins feel good about second year running back Kenyan Drake.
“The Dolphins have a lot of confidence in Kenyan Drake and are apparently ready to hand him the starting spot moving forward. I’m not sure how the split of carries will go with him and Damien Williams.”
The NFL trade deadline hits at 4:00 PM, and WQAM will be watching for any further deals.