Which team would be the best potential trade partner in Landry deal?

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Jarvis Landry
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Jarvis Landry /

Jarvis Landry notified the Dolphins that he will sign his franchise tag, signaling that a trade could be coming shortly. So which team of interest would be the best suitable trade partner for Miami?

On Saturday night, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted out that star wide receiver Jarvis Landry would be signing the franchise tag that the Miami Dolphins placed on him in February.

As you can tell from the tweet, Landry’s willingness to sign the franchise tag signals that a trade is coming soon. Multiple teams have shown interest in Landry in the last several months, but zero mention on which teams are willing to sign Landry for the type of money he is seeking long-term. Rapoport’s tweet, however, notes that teams are viewing Landry as a #1 receiver, and therefore, should be awarded #1 receiver-type money.

Landry does hold some leverage in where he ends up as a long-term agreement seemingly would have to be confirmed before any trade is finalized. But which of those teams would provide the best possible trade package for Miami?

The Dolphins have a history of undervaluing players they ship out, and overvaluing players they bring in from trades. The most recent of which coming from when they traded Jay Ajayi to the Eagles for a 4th round pick. My initial belief was that Miami could have received more for Ajayi, but admittedly, my stance has changed some in that regard these past few days after the Dolphins completed a trade with the Rams on Friday to bring in Pro Bowler Robert Quinn. The trade wasn’t exactly the same, and it’s Miami’s 4th round pick, not the one they got from Philadelphia, that the Rams are getting in return, but essentially, the Dolphins traded Ajayi for Quinn, which I can live with.

When it comes to Landry, however, many are already assuming that the Dolphins will get fleeced in any deal. Landry means a lot to the organization so it’s easy to understand why. So what sort of deal could Miami get to avoid this from happening?

I will start out by saying that in my opinion, if Landry is dealt for any third round pick or lower, then they came up well short. The Dolphins drafted him with their second round pick in 2014, and he has been their best player since that time. Trading him for anything lower than that would be a steal for whichever team receives him. But finding a team willing to fork over a first or second round pick could be difficult. Let’s breakdown a few options where Landry could land, and how Miami could warrant value in letting go of their best receiver.

Cleveland Browns

A trade with Cleveland has to be the most ideal for Miami, even if it’s not Landry’s preferred landing spots. The Browns have 12 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, and six of those within the first 65 picks. They have more than enough ammunition to compensate the Dolphins for, and over $100 million in available cap space to take on Landry’s $16 million contract for 2018 or pay him what he seeks in a long-term deal.

There are rumors speculating that Miami could trade Landry and the #11 overall pick to the Browns in order to move up in the draft at possibly #4. This may not be enough for the Browns, however, to accept a deal, and Miami is probably not willing to give up much more. It’s more of a possibility that the Dolphins could get one of Cleveland’s second round picks, #33 or #35 overall, in exchange for Landry straight up. If Cleveland is willing to give up either pick then Miami should pull the trigger right away. Miami lands an additional top pick, and Cleveland would still have two second round picks (they also contain #64 overall).

Chicago Bears

The Bears are a mystery when it comes to the Jarvis Landry sweepstakes. Some say that they’ve fallen out because of their unwillingness to sign Landry to the type of money he is seeking. Others believe that they are still very much in the hunt, and that a blockbuster deal could be in the making. Saturday afternoon it was rumored that both teams were actually in talks about a trade package that would send Landry to Chicago, and Jordan Howard to Miami. In addition, Miami would send Chicago a third round pick, and both teams would swap first round picks.

Having Kenyan Drake and Jordan Howard in the same backfield would be a dominant combo. It would also come very cheap. However, I’m not sold on the idea of losing Landry AND a third round pick in the process to bring in Howard. Moving up three spots would likely mean that Miami is seeking a defensive player or a player like Calvin Ridley to replace Landry. A quarterback at #8 overall doesn’t make much sense since the 49ers and Raiders won’t be drafting a quarterback.

Rapoport shot this rumor down, however, noting that the Bears have no interest in trading Howard. A more realistic trade that works out well for both teams is Chicago’s second round pick, #39 overall. It’s another top 10 pick within the second round that Miami could use for their benefit to add depth at other areas, and in return, Chicago gets the wide receiver they desperately need.

Related Story: Dolphins bad history of trading receivers

Carolina Panthers

A trade with Carolina is probably Miami’s best opportunity at a first round pick. Carolina holds the #24 overall selection, and they may be willing to hand it over if they are certain that Landry would ink a long-term deal with them. The Panthers need more weapons to help Cam Newton, and there is mutual interest between them and Landry. Landry wants to play with a proven quarterback, and Newton is one of the most athletic in the league even if he’s not the most consistent. This trade is still unlikely, however, seeing as how most teams believe that Landry can be had without giving up a first round pick.

The reality that Miami may be trading Landry soon is a major blow to the hearts of many Dolphins fans. It is a business at the end of the day, however, and if the Dolphins did in fact offer Landry $13 million a year, and he turned it down, then I can understand why they feel the need to trade him at this point. My hope is that both sides can end up coming out on top.

The Dolphins would still have a major void to fill, but a quality pick could help ease the pain a bit. In the process, Landry could find himself on a team that believes him to be a #1 receiver, and pay him like one. For Miami, if a deal is going to be made, it’s probably best if it’s done before the start of free agency.