How the Miami Dolphins helped Eagles build a Super Bowl team


The Miami Dolphins had a small part to play in the success of the Philadelphia Eagles making it to the Super Bowl. Now they have to hope the Eagles can knock the Patriots off their perch.

On Sunday the Eagles finished a stellar season but they will face a daunting challenge against the Patriots who will go to their eigth Super Bowl under the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era. The Patriots in typical Patriot fashion came back in the fourth quarter to knock out the Jaguars.

While the Philadelphia fans celebrate the trip to the big game, the Dolphins had a small part to play in that success. Forget the fact that head coach Doug Pederson was once a Miami Dolphin quarterback. Miami helped them with some moves that gave the Eagles the players needed to make the leap.

In October the Dolphins traded running back Jay Ajayi to the Eagles for a fourth round pick. Ajayi didn’t light up the stat line but his play was solid all season with the Eagles. It was a trade that benefited both the Dolphins and the Eagles. Without Ajayi, the Dolphins were able to get a good look at Kenyan Drake.

Drake had a very good season for the Dolphins and appears to be the future starting tailback for the team. In fact, statistically speaking, Drake had slightly better numbers than Ajayi after Ajayi left the team. Ajayi helped the Eagles win but even that trade wasn’t the big trade that helped Philadelphia.

Two drafts ago the Dolphins traded for Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso. That trade removed a large amount of cap space for the Eagles who were buried under the Maxwell free agent signing a year before. With Maxwell out the Eagles were able to sign a couple of more players who fit better with their team. The loss of Alonso didn’t hurt the Eagles as he was replaceable.

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What did benefit the Eagles was the swap of draft picks in round one. Miami moved down the Eagles spot at 13 and the Eagles jumped to the eighth overall pick. They used that selection to trade up with the Cleveland Browns and drafted Carson Wentz.

Wentz did not play in the playoffs. That was handled by Nick Foles who replaced Wentz when he tore his ACL in the final weeks of the season. Despite the success of the Eagles there is no question that Wentz had a big hand in the Eagles turnaround.

As stated it was a small assistance on the Dolphins part that helped a team reach the Super Bowl and now Miami fans can only hope that the moves made between the two teams can help for one more game and put down the Patriots next attempt at a Super Bowl title. The trades show what aggressive decisions can do if done right. Something Miami has not been able to do in a very long time.

As for the Dolphins part in the trades? Well Maxwell is already gone after a season and a half and Kiko Alonso wasn’t the impact linebacker Miami has hoped it can be. He has another year to turn it around due to his contract extension. With the 13th pick in the 2016 draft the Dolphins grabbed LT Laremy Tunsil who struggled in his first full season at left tackle. Miami needs to spend the fourth round pick they received for Ajayi wisely but history hasn’t shown Miami capable of turning mid-round picks into stars.