July 21, 2008

What everybody is saying about the JT trade

The Dolphins, Redskins and Jason Taylor have released quotes about Sunday's trade that sends Taylor to the Washington Redskins for a second-round pick in 2009 and a sixth-round pick in 2010.

Here is what Taylor said:

"As you might imagine, this is a bit overwhelming right now and I probably need a little time to digest it all. I love Miami, will always cherish my 11 years with the Dolphins and can't thank Mr. Huizenga, Bryan Wiedmeier and countless coaches and teammates enough for what they have all done. I will be a Dolphins fan now and wish them the best. Tony Sparano is great and I know I would have enjoyed working with him. And what can I say about the fans? This town has been supportive beyond belief, through good times and bad and I wish I could thank everyone personally.

"Having said that, I'm looking forward to meeting with Mr. Snyder and getting to know my new coaches and teammates. I'm just proud to be representing our nation's capital as a Redskin."

From the Dolphins, the team released statements from managing general partner (owner) Wayne Huizenga and GM Jeff Ireland.

"I want to thank Jason for all of his contributions to the Dolphins and to South Florida," Huizenga said. "Ever since he joined the team as a rookie he has been outstanding on the field and a leader in our community. Whether it was his intensity between the lines or his commitment to his charitable works, he made a lasting impact here. I will miss Jason, and on behalf of the entire Dolphins organization I want to wish him the best of success with the Redskins."

From the Redskins perspective, executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato was thrilled:

"We are fortunate that there was a player of his caliber available on the market, especially after one of our players got hurt. Normally there is nobody on the market of his caliber. [Taylor] is a six-time Pro Bowl player, and he was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2006. The timing was right.

"His play speaks for itself. It is easy to talk about Jason Taylor. His statistics back up everything that he has done. I think one of the more impressive accomplishments is that he played 90 percent of the plays on defense last year. We had to act after losing our starting defensive end Phillip Daniels."

So what do I think? You can check that out in the column I wrote in Monday's Herald. Basically, the Dolphins are less talented as a result of this trade. They just lost a double-digit sack player and have no real dependable replacement for him.

But they just may be a stronger TEAM because they don't have the Taylor distraction and all the drama that goes with him as training camp looms. The Dolphins, by the way, talked to at least two teams about trading Taylor on Sunday but believed the Redskins deal to be the best for them.

Now you get your chance. What are you, the fans, saying...

Are you feeling the same sense of loss as when Zach Thomas left? Are you feeling something along the lines of when Dan Marino retired? Or did the past few months of posturing by both sides (the Dolphins looking out for their interests and Taylor looking out for himself) leave you with a sour taste?

July 20, 2008

Taylor trade makes Parcells look like a genius

Although the Dolphins have not yet confirmed it -- the team hasn't yet confirmed that last season ended, either -- the Washington Redskins have announced they have acquired Jason Taylor for a second round pick in 2009 and a sixth round pick in 2010.

To which I say: Bill Parcells is the man!

I am not celebrating Taylor's departure, though he probably is. Taylor wanted to be traded since the end of last season and I am told he is welcoming this move. He is scheduled to arrive at the Redskins training facility by tomorrow morning.

He has talked with Redskins executive VP of football operations Vinny Cerrato and apparently told him that he would play for the Redskins for two seasons. "I'm 100 percent positive he'll play for more than one year," Cerrato told DC area reporters.

So much for the drama of playing one and being done.

Fact is this trade means the only drama remaining on the Dolphins will be on the field. It will come in the form of quarterback and other position competitions. It will come in seeing how long, and if, the new Dolphins leadership takes to correct a franchise off course.

The drama that Taylor brought throughout the offseason and up until this week as we wondered whether he would report to the start of training camp or not -- he wasn't going to, by the way -- is now gone.

And, by the way, the Dolphins got their asking price. Parcells was criticized immediately after the draft by pundits who said he should have unloaded Taylor on the cheap. He instead held fast knowing that teams making a playoff or championship push would reach a point late in training camp when they would want a player of Taylor's talent.

Parcells was right in thinking that. He just underestimated that the moment would come much earlier in camp. The Redskins opened camp on Saturday and defensive end Phillip Daniels suffered a season-ending injury in a 7-on-7 drill.

July 14, 2008

Jason Taylor talks to ESPN, says very little

ESPN reporter Ed Werder is touring the country this week talking to NFL players in Sunday-type conversations that will air throughout this week. Jason Taylor is the subject of Monday's conversation that will air on the 11 p.m. SportsCenter and 143,043 times thereafter until the next conversation (one with Denver QB Jay Cutler) takes over Tuesday night.

Sitting down with Werder, looking cool with sunglasses sitting atop his shaved head, Taylor was comfortable, friendly and confident in front of the cameras. He basically spent 15-20 minutes repeating everything he's said in past interviews with other media entities with one small exception.

Taylor leaves open the door to the possibility that this won't be his final season after telling the Dolphins and the public this would indeed be the final year of his career. "Can that change?" Taylor asks rhetorically, "sure it can. This is America. We have the freedom to do pretty much anything we want to do."

So much for nuggets.

In the post of the Taylor interview on ESPN, the one titled, "Taylor dances around his future," the Dancing with the Stars runner-up does not say whether he will report to training camp with the rest of his teammates July 25 and start practicing the next morning. Can't tell if he was asked, but even if he was, I doubt Taylor would say.

Taylor was asked that question last week by NFL.com and he didn't give a straight answer then, either.

Werder asks Taylor what his expectation is of where and when he'll be playing again. "I have no idea," Taylor non-responds. "I have no idea."

So Werder chimes in, "What do you want the outcome to be?"

"I want to win games," Taylor says, recycling material and a tactic he's used before. "That's why I play this game. I don't play this game for fame, for money, for fun..."

Of course, the phrase that Taylor never utters is, "I want to play for the Dolphins."

Taylor does admit he may not have a choice, however. "I'm not a free agent," he says.

But, Werder offers, he could always retire, which Taylor has told all his friends and confidants that he definitely doesn't want to do. But regardless of that, Taylor refused to be pinned down.

"Well," Taylor says with a sly grin, "You can always do that, too."

June 02, 2008

JT for Greg Ellis a deal that makes sense?

The Dallas Cowboys and the Dolphins have a connection as evidenced by the trades the teams made during free agency and the draft, the fact each has signed the other's discards, and the fact part of the Dallas coaching and personnel staff is now working in Miami.

So doesn't it make sense for the Cowboys and Dolphins to swap Greg Ellis for Jason Taylor?


Although Taylor lies states he would be happy playing for the Dolphins in 2008, the fact remains he wants to play for a winner. The Cowboys fit that bill. Taylor, I am told, would happily adjust his contract to make a move to Dallas for the one more year he says he's going to play. This is not a money issue for him, it is about the chance to go out with a ring and he doesn't think he has that chance in Miami no matter what he lies says to protect his image.


He will be 33 years old before the season and is reportedly unhappy in Dallas because the Cowboys are trying to find more playing and practice time for 2007 first-round pick Anthony Spencer. Ellis is so disturbed by this he didn't show up to some OTA work the last couple of weeks.

Taylor is clearly the more accomplished pass-rusher but last year struggled against the run. Ellis is the better run-stopper but not as efficient rushing the passer. He did have 12.5 sackes last year, but he's helped by the fact the Cowboys have other pass-rush threats (read DeMarcus Ware) helping him out.

So how much of a stretch is it to think the teams could swap aging but productive defensive players? Not much when you think that Dallas may not be scared away by Taylor's desire (or lack thereof) to play only one more year. Again, I remind you they have Spencer on deck.

This trade, by the way, is not something I've been told will happen. Just want to clear that up. But the Cowboys interest in Taylor is quite poorly veiled. Adam Schefter, of the NFL Network, has reported the Cowboys have had "internal discussions" about adding Taylor.

Finally, this trade makes more sense than some of the ones you guys have previously proposed on this blog or on my weekend radio show. The most notable of those is trading Taylor to the Bengals for Chad Johnson, which will NEVER happen.

Let me address this one once and for all. Johnson is not on the trade block. That is proven by the fact the Bengals turned down two first round picks from Washington in exchange for Johnson. If they turned down two first round picks for Johnson, they are not going to turn around and give him up for a player that will play only one more season.

June 01, 2008

Even after Taylor speaks, this is not over, folks

So Jason Taylor is today going to say what we all know. He would like to be traded to a contending team.

I write about this incredible revelation in an awesome column that appears in Sunday's Miami Herald. Yeah, I'm kidding about it being awesome. Frankly, it only tells you that Taylor will today finally utter words we already knew he was thinking.

Yippie!!!! Big deal, right?

The part that intrigues me, however, is that even this good-bye of sorts will come with a caveat. Taylor will leave the door ajar for reporting to the team's training camp if that move can somehow grease the skids for helping the Dolphins work out a trade.

Talk about an awkward situation.

But I have to tell you, even though my friend Adam Schefter of the NFL Network writes teams such as Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Dallas, New Orleans and yes, San Diego, may have interest in Taylor after showing varying degrees of interest in the past, I cannot see the Dolphins getting very much for him.

The fact of the matter is the Dolphins know and Taylor will probably admit he only wants to play for one more year -- that being 2008.

Now, I just anointed you the GM for any of those teams already mentioned. Do you give up a third-round pick to rent Jason Taylor for only one year?

I would not.

And the Dolphins simply aren't going to give him away. [Miami defines giving him away as trading him for anything less than a third-round pick.] I know many of you are saying, 'Get rid of him, take a seventh-round pick if that's the price, release him if you have to.'

Again, I anoint you a GM, this time of the Dolphins. Your job is to make Miami as good as quickly as you possibly can. You do this by getting good return for your moves. You DO NOT trade your most proven player cheaply and you certainly DO NOT release him. The funny thing is I expect that emotional reaction from fans, but I've actually read it in local opinion pieces from sportswriters who are supposed to know better. "Get rid of him and get it over with."

NO. Those are the same sportswriters, by the way, who later would rail on Bill Parcells if Taylor goes on to have a great year for another team. No wonder Parcells doesn't talk to the media down here.

Anyway, regardless of what Taylor says today, regardless of whether he gets up on table and dances salsa to an old time Cuban Son -- which, by the way, I'm sure I can do better than him -- it won't mean this situation is resolved.

Not by a long shot. It is simply out of his hands.


[Yeah, I said it, I can dance better than JT.]

May 28, 2008

Another in the endless line of Jason Taylor posts

Sorry to do this to you guys, especially those of you officially numb to the Jason Taylor updates. But in the interest of telling you the latest about the Dolphins most recognizable player, I must pass this along.

Again, I apologize.

Taylor today was in West Des Moines, Iowa, which culturally is about as distant from Los Angeles and South Florida as Mars, to play a round of charity golf. After the event he was asked about his situation with the Dolphins.

"I'm under contract with the Dolphins," he said. "So again, I'm looking forward to playing some golf. Football doesn't start until July and training camp, so I'll be all right. I've been in L.A. and so far removed from it. Like I said, I'll deal with that when I get there."

According to the Associated Press report, Taylor avoided questions about whether he plans to meet with Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Bill Parcells when he gets back. (Remember their last encounter didn't go so well with Parcells ignoring Taylor.)

Taylor said his immediate plans are to work out, play golf and relax at home.

"We'll work with football here in the near future," Taylor said.

Personally, I'm not counting on that. I don't see a resolution to this, this, this relationship until just before the regular season beckons. At that point, some desperate team will trade for Taylor, or Taylor will report so he can get paid, or he'll simply stay away and possibly retire.

My best guess of what eventually happens: He reports.

Don't toss your No. 99 jerseys yet.

Did I tell you I'm sorry? Please forgive me.

May 21, 2008

Taylor drama not as bad as I thought it would be

After discussing Wednesday's statement by Tony Sparano about Jason Taylor with representatives for BOTH sides, I asked myself this question: Why don't I get a real job?

No, actually I asked myself, 'What has changed?'

The answer is very little. I wrote a column for Mother Herald about the matter. Read it, dammit! We now know beyond a shadow of doubt that there is a rift between Jason Taylor and the Dolphins. Big deal. Been saying that since March. There's a fracture, people.

The bottom line is the Dolphins, I am told, are actively trying to trade Taylor. Good for the team because it is trying to get more draft picks for next year. Taylor, I am told, is actively seeking roles and opportunities in Hollywood. Good for him. Chances are pretty solid Taylor will not play for the Dolphins in 2008. Great for fans tired of off-field drama.

But that is not absolute. Taylor still has not publicly ripped the Dolphins and the team source that I spoke with about this noted that Taylor "hasn't been a pain at all."

Meanwhile, Miami's announcement -- contrary to the crazy pundits crying that it is a slam and signals the end -- did not publicly rip Taylor. Sparano's statement simply stated a fact the Taylor's camp had made known to the Dolphins.

So this is simply business being played out in the public light. I got (blog writing) no problems with it because, frankly, I expected much, much worse. Notice no one is PUBLICLY ripping the other side. If that happens, then we can say it has gotten ugly. But not until then.

Anyway, what do you think should happen next ...

... One more thought: I am told Taylor paid very careful attention to how Michael Strahan conducted himself last offseason. He was impressed that Strahan didn't have to get beat up in training camp, but still rejoined his team in time to get paid and play the season. And, it should be noted, Strahan's season ended with a Super Bowl trophy.

So missing training camp is not a crisis in Taylor's mind. Fact is, he does not cherish getting beat up for a month facing rookie Jake Long in two-a-days. He would do that for a week or 10 days. But not a month.

The bottom line is this will get resolved. And that resolution -- be it a trade, retirement or Taylor's return to the team -- should happen by the middle to late part of training camp. I predict late August the latest.

Discuss ...

May 19, 2008

Taylor-Parcells not talking bother you? [Updated]

Everybody's talking about the Jason Taylor Sunday Conversation on ESPN last night.

Everybody's talking about JT's desire to be known more for acting than football 10 years from now when he's 43 years old.

Everybody's talking about him saying he's in "five times better shape now than when I was defensive player of the year."

Everybody's talking except for Jason Taylor and Bill Parcells.

Am I the only one that finds this odd, bizarre, weird, out of the ordinary and otherwise strange? Bill Parcells sits down and has lunch with Ricky Williams, talks to much less gifted players on the team, seemingly meets with Jeff Ireland every five minutes, but since taking over as the Dolphins football czar he and Jason Taylor have talked all of 30 seconds?

I wrote about that 30-second communication in a column I wrote in late April. Taylor confirmed that communication (or lack of it) during his Sunday conversation. "I haven't talked to him so I really don't know him," Taylor said of Parcells. "I met him, obviously, for 30 seconds ... But I don't know him."

So let me try to work this out in my mind: The best player on the Dolphins and the man redirecting the Dolphins future have crossed paths for all of 30 seconds since DECEMBER when Parcells was hired. Does that not seem strange to anyone but me?

The one and only meeting between these two men includes the time, which I also detailed in that linked column, in which Taylor tried to visit with Parcells and was rebuffed.

This sounds like a junior high relationship for goodness sake.

Why hasn't Bill Parcells picked up the phone and called Jason Taylor? Why hasn't Taylor picked up the phone and called Parcells? They have some things to iron out, don't you think?

If, indeed, Parcells intends to hold Taylor to the Dolphins as he has said, it kind of makes sense to have communication with the guy. If, indeed, Taylor plans to play for the Dolphins in 2008 as he has said publicly, it kind of makes sense to keep trying to communicate with Parcells even if The Big Tuna continues to give him the Big Brush Off.

So why the chill?

Do I have to spell it out for you?

Behind the scenes this is a fractured relationship and, as I have written on this blog and in my columns, Taylor doesn't want to play for the Dolphins in 2008. He wants to be traded to a playoff team. His agent has called Parcells and Ireland and even owner Wayne Huizenga various times to tell them that.

A lot of you have criticized me for reporting this because you call it gossip. That's because you said I could point to no public quote in which either party claimed any sort of rift. Well, when the team's best player goes on ESPN and admits he doesn't speak with the guy who is running the team, I believe the gossip is looking a lot like fact.

One more thing: Don't tell me everything is fine because JT and coach Tony Sparano have been exchanging text messages. How many of you would feel comfortable getting kudos from your immediate boss while knowing HIS BOSS is angry at you?

Anyway, I've added a poll to allow you to give further opinion. Take the poll and I'll give you indepth results not available in the percentages later.


[Evening update: It is 7:30 which is 6 1/2 hours since I posted the poll. To this point 838 people have taken the poll which means approximately 128 people every hour are taking the poll. Most of the people taking the poll are from Florida, as one might expect, but there is a ton of people from California, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hamphire, Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, Mississippi, Louisiana and the Atlantic states taking the poll.

Interestingly, no one from Wyoming or Oregon or North Dakota has taken the poll. Guess there are very few Dolfans there. Internationally, folks from Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, and Candadian friends in Quebec, Ottawa, Prince Edward Island, Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver have taken the poll.

On the other side of the great oceans, there is so far one participant from South Korea, one in Israel, Poland, and Serbia. There is one participant in The Netherlands. There were multiple participants from the United Kingdom and Germany. There is one participant in Malaysia and several in Australia.

I tell you this because I find it interesting to what degree Dolphins fans will go to find information about their teams -- regardless of how far from South Florida they are. I commend you. In the future, I will continue to give you insights about the polls on this blog. And, by the way, since I started writing this update, 24 votes have been cast bringing the total to 862 and adding Bermuda to the participating countries.]

May 13, 2008

Taylor advancing on Dancing good or bad?

Jason Taylor just advanced to the Dancing with the Stars finals.

I admit it. I watch.

So does the rest of the world, apparently. Taylor was just on the cover of TV Guide (Didn't realize that was still around). He also is said to have met with Denzel Washington and some executive muckety muck at 20th Century Fox that told him he should be in pictures.

I want Taylor to win Dancing because, at least for now, he represents South Florida and I'm for South Florida through and through. But although it is good that Taylor goes on to next week's finals, it is also true another week of Taylor on Dancing means another week he's not in the Dolphins conditioning program.

You know how I feel about the importance of offseason conditioning. I also think players make huge salaries and owe their teams and themselves the best opportunity to play well during the season by getting as strong and as finely conditioned as possible during the offseason.

But I'm wondering what you think. Maybe you guys don't think it's a big deal Taylor has missed seven weeks of the program so far so that he could be on, well, the other program. And maybe you don't care if he misses the whole darn thing. So here's your chance to voice your opinion.

Tell me when Jason Taylor should rejoin the Dolphins for conditioning work. Tell me if you think he should join the program at all. Tell me if you believe it is no biggie. Also, take the poll below. I just learned how to configure it so make me happy and cooperate.