Around this time last year the Dolphins shipped cornerback Travis Daniels to Cleveland and quarterback Josh McCown to Carolina. Earlier this week the team successfully shopped and shipped Andy Alleman and Ikechuku Ndukwe to Kansas City.
An NFL source has told me the team also tried to trade Ernest Wilford before terminating his contract but no one was interested. And the Dolphins are not averse to conducting further business both on the giving and receiving end of a trade if the player and the price is right.
In fact, GM Jeff Ireland has been working the phones with over a dozen teams in the past 10 days, I'm told.
What does this mean? The Dolphins are trying to dump players they have no plans of keeping and perhaps get a draft pick for that player. And they're trying to pick up the right player at whatever position the braintrust has identified as needing help.
And where do the Dolphins need help?
A dynamic kick returner would be nice. Now that the Chris Williams experiment is over, the Dolphins are back to last year's plan. They're looking at Davone Bess as the likely punt returner and Ted Ginn or Patrick Cobbs or perhaps Lex Hilliard as the kickoff returner.
That is not optimal anywhere you turn.
Bess is quick but by no means fast. He lacks the elite speed to turn a 7-yard punt return into a 70-yard punt return. That's the reason Williams was attractive until punts starting hitting him in the facemask.
On kickoffs, the Dolphins aren't thrilled about using Ginn as the returner knowing he's going to be working in most receiver packages. Cobbs is OK and Hilliard is both unproven and not exactly fast. So Miami covets someone who can tilt the field in its favor either on punts, or kicks, and preferably on both.
Where else could the Dolphins use an upgrade?
The team still would like a sold run-stopping strongside linebacker. I know, I know, Jason Taylor is starting there. And yes, Jason, you've made the team, dude so now it's time to find something else to drive you a bit.
But remember the plan was originally to let Taylor be Taylor on passing downs so he wouldn't risk injury, so he wouldn't fade late in the season, so the Dolphins could assure themselves of getting every available ounce of what Taylor has done best -- chase quarterbacks.
Of course, Matt Roth's mysterious groin issue changed that plan. But what if the Dolphins can find someone else to play strong at the point of attack and hold the edge and give Taylor the luxury of bringing it on with his pass rushes? If Roth were to return to his expected role, we might find ourselves looking at the original plan again. But Roth now seems as likely to be somehow off the roster as on so it would be wrong to count on him.
I don't know if the Dolphins feel a need to trade for help on offense. Not that they don't need it. If you've read this blog, you know the receiver corps lacks a playmaker. But those aren't likely to be available now unless they are named Brandon Marshall and that deal seems unlikely for Miami.
The Dolphins might add backup OL help or maybe try to upgrade the TE corps by picking up a player cut from other teams. But I don't see them giving away draft picks for those players at this point. I still think it would have been nice to add Brian Waters of KC but that doesn't seem likely, either.
So what about the other side of the proverbial coin?
Where are the Dolphins seemingly strong enough to deal away a player another team might want?
Look no further than DE. The Dolphins have Kendall Langford, Randy Starks, Phillip Merling, Tony McDaniel, Lionel Dotson, Rodrique Wright and Ryan Baker on the squad right now. All seven of those guys are not going to make the roster.
Maybe Rodrique Wright has value somewhere. Maybe somebody gives up a seventh-round pick for Ryan Baker. Maybe some needy 3-4 team gets a crazy notion that Dotson can be a starter and offers a fifth-round pick for the guy. Who knows? The point is anything can happen.
And this is the time in the preseason when something often does.