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Dolphins are already in draft trade-down mode

The 2011 draft is three months away and already the Dolphins seem willing to trade away the No. 15 overall selection they have in the first round.

General manager Jeff Ireland is hoping, indeed perhaps expecting, to regain the second round pick the Dolphins lack in the coming draft. That pick went to Denver in the trade that sent Miami's 2010 and 2011 second round picks to the Broncos for receiver Brandon Marshall.

"You obviously know you don't have [a second-rounder] right now," Ireland said. "But like you've seen in the past, there's ways to get it back and you're obviously looking to try to do that. So as of right now we don't have one, but who knows on game day, draft day, if we'll have one."

In the past, there were a number of ways Ireland could attack the idea of getting back that second-round pick. He could study his roster and identify a player he might be willing to part with for that pick. That is out of the question for the time being, and likely for quite a while to come.

The NFL's uncertain labor situation has made the idea of trading veteran players moot. Those fanciful speculations about the Dolphins acquiring Kevin Kolb or Kyle Orton or anyone for that matter is kind if ridiculous because no NFL team can trade anyone away or trade for anyone right now. Those moves do not happen until the new league year begins in March and, even then, there will be no such moves allowed unless there is a new labor deal in place.

All the experts are saying there will be no such deal in place by then. Or by draft day. Or possibly before July or August.

Fact is the NFL has already told teams that even though it will go forward with a draft, as of right now no players can be exchanged before that draft, during that draft, or after that draft. So trading a veteran to get back that valuable second-round pick simply isn't an option.

That means Ireland will likely have only two options for getting back that second round pick and the first option isn't all that palatable. That first option is for the Dolphins to trade a future pick or picks for a second round pick in 2011. In other words, it is conceivable the Dolphins could trade their 2012 first rounder for a 2011 second rounder.

It doesn't sound like a great value, does it? That is why it is possible but not highly likely.

The more likely scenario is for Ireland to put a for sale sign on that No. 15 first round pick in 2011. He can hope to trade that mid-round first rounder for late first-rounder plus a late second-rounder. Or he can hope to trade that first-rounder for an early second-rounder plus a late second-rounder, depending on what other teams are offering.

The point would be to get a two-for-one for that No. 15 overall pick.

Yes, the Dolphins have done it before. Last year, Bill Parcells held the No. 12 overall pick but no second-rounder because of that Marshall trade. So he traded that pick plus a sixth round selection to the San Diego Chargers for their first rounder (28th overall), plus their second-rounder (40th overall), plus their fourth-rounder, plus linebacker Tim Dobbins.

It looked like a solid move until Jared Odrick, the player the Dolphins selected with the 28th overall selection only one game for the team before getting hurt. (By the way, Odrick had surgery on fractured leg and then had an injury on his other leg but finally started running again this week, according to a source.)

The Dolphins have made four trade-up or trade-down moves since Parcells-Ireland-Tony Sparano began running drafts in 2008. All but one of the moves was a trade-down.

Aside from the trade-down last year, they had a 2009 trade-down in the second round with Indianapolis to pick up a a lower second rounder and a fifth round selection. That trade netted Miami Sean Smith and Chris Clemons.

They also traded down during the third round of the 2008 draft to get back a lower third rounder plus a sixth rounder. That trade netted them Kendall Langford and Jalen Parmalee.

The trade ups?

They traded up in 2008's fourth round, giving up their fourth-rounder and a seventh-rounder to Chicago for the right to take Shawn Murphy.

The Dolphins are apparently not in trade up mode this year. They want to recover that second rounder lost to Denver. The Dolphins are in trade down mode.

Already.

By the way, Ireland will be a guest on my radio show, Armando and the Amigo, Friday morning in the 9 o'clock hour. You can listen live in South Florida at 640-AM. Or you can listen streaming live online here. I'll report back to you if he says something newsworthy either here at the blog or on twitter. So please follow me.

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