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Second in series: Grade Ireland, Parcells trades

[This is the second in a series of posts about the Dolphins personnel department. Today we look at the trades Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells made in 2008. Next: Ireland and Parcells in free agency.]

Let's get this out of the way right away: Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells did a fantastic job last offseason whenever they got on the phone with other NFL personnel men and agreed to exchange players or draft picks or both.

So, to dispense with the formalities, both get a rousing ovation from the peanut gallery for their trade acumen in 2008. Both deserves an A for their jobs. Both should put in for their raises immediately ... oh, Parcells is about to do that already. Never mind.

But for the sake of the exercise, it must be noted these two men go into this Dolphins offseason with still much to do. So let us recount the trades they made this season and the reasons you should love them to try more trades in the coming months.

The TRADES: There were plenty of them and it began with the raiding of the Dallas Cowboys. Jason Ferguson was acquired for a 2009 sixth-round draft pick and the exchange of the teams' sixth rounders last year. Ferguson rewarded the Dolphins with 13 starts in 15 games and was a good anchor at nose tackle. Yes, he's a stopgap at the position. But the Dolphins didn't have anyone else. They need to address that spot this offseason. A little-known factoid about this trade is the Dolphins used the sixth-round pick from Dallas on Donald Thomas, who earned a starting right guard spot in the season opener before getting injured. The Cowboys used the sixth they got from Miami on linebacker Erick Walden, who they eventually waived. After the Chiefs claimed and then waived Walden, the Dolphins claimed him from the Chiefs. In other words, the Dolphins traded their sixth-round pick this year for Ferguson, Donald Thomas and Erik Walden, who showed promise on Miami's special teams and I think will be a good player down the road.

On April 26, the Dolphins traded a fourth-round pick to Dallas for Anthony Fasano and Akin Ayodele. On that same day, the team got a fourth-round pick from Philadelphia for Lorenzo Booker. The Dolphins essentially traded Booker, a player they had determined would not play a role in the offense, for the team's new starting tight end and a starting inside linebacker. Oh yeah, thumbs up!

On April 27, the Dolphins traded away another fourth-round pick (115 overall) and a seventh-round pick (208 overall) to Chicago in exchange for Chicago's fourth round pick (110 overall). The move put the Dolphins in position to draft guard Shawn Murphy of Utah State. Murphy did not play in any games in 2008, which is a disappointment considering the team eventually resorted to Andy Alleman and Ikechucku Ndukwe as its starters. Unless Murphy gets his act together, this trade will have resulted in no benefit to Miami.

On July 20, with much uncertainty about Jason Taylor's future hovering about, the Dolphins said good-bye to their most decorated player. It was a bittersweet moment for everyone but Bill Parcells who didn't want any unhappy players in the locker room at the start of training camp. Taylor, eager to play for a contender and doubting the Dolphins would contend, wanted out. He got a ticket punched for Washington and was thrilled about that. The Dolphins got a second-round draft pick in the coming draft and a sixth-rounder in 2010.

Taylor started eight games for the Redskins and contributed 3.5 sacks. Before the season was over, he admitted he wasn't worth the $8 million Washington was paying him in salary and he expects to be cut this offseason. Because the Redskins failed to meet Taylor's (or their own) expectations, and finished with an 8-8 record, they will draft 13th in the first round. The Dolphins now own Washington's pick in the second round, which is higher than their own pick in the round. We don't know what that second-round pick will bring, but the trade looks to be tipping in Miami's favor at the moment.

On Aug. 20, the Dolphins pulled the trigger on sending cornerback Travis Daniels to Cleveland for a seventh-round selection. The Dolphins were planning to waive Daniels within 10 days. So they got something for him, albeit only a final round pick this coming draft. Daniels, meanwhile, didn't exactly light things up in Cleveland. He played in seven games and started in one. He had five tackles without an interception or a pass defensed.

Ireland and Parcells made a free agent signing mistake on Josh McCown -- we'll get to that tomorrow. They tried to get out from under that error by trading McCown to the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 27. Miami got a seventh-round pick in exchange for McCown. McCown got in two games but did not throw a pass for the Panthers in 2008. This trade was a save-face move. At least the signing doesn't go down as a total loss.

The ROUNDUP: Can you find one trade that screams major mistake? I cannot. The move to get Murphy made sense at the time. It has not worked out, but is it a major error? Not really. Can you find one trade that suggests the Dolphins lost on the exchange? Again, no. Can you find reasons to think picking up four starters, a 2009 second-round pick, a special teams player, two 2009 seventh-round picks, and a 2010 sixth-round pick for one starter, one backup cornerback, a failed free agent quarterback, and an unproven third-down back is good business?

I can.

The FINAL WORD: The next trade Ireland and Parcells make for the Dolphins that goes awry will be the first trade they make on behalf of the Dolphins that goes awry. And if I'm Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells or Jeff Ireland are calling, I do not pick up the phone.

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