What went wrong with Dolphins trade of Ja’Wuan James?

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Kicker Cody Parkey
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Kicker Cody Parkey /

A new report says that the Miami Dolphins had agreed to trade Ja’Wuan James to the Denver Broncos. That never happened so what exactly happened that nixed the deal?

According to a report by Troy Renck of ABC Denver, the Dolphins and Broncos came to an agreement that would send offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James and his $9 million 5th year option salary to the Broncos for running back C.J. Anderson. Then the Dolphins pulled out of the deal.

The question is why?

Adam Gase tried to get Anderson to Miami in his first season when Anderson was a free agent. The Broncos held rights to match any offer the runner received and they matched Miami’s offer sheet. Anderson is entering the third year of that deal which was brokered by the Dolphins.

It would have seemed like a natural fit for Gase and his offense. Something however wasn’t right with the deal. What exactly that was is anyones guess but it was a smart move by Miami to take the deal off the table. Rumors had swirled around the start of free agency that a deal for James was in the works.

As the rumors went, James was part of a deal that would be for Anderson or a combination of Anderson and a swap of first round picks. Perhaps realizing that they couldn’t convince Denver to swap 1’s they realized they were better off holding on to James.

James has been a very good starter and a reliable pass blocker when he has been healthy. He missed time last season and finished the year on IR but his injury is not going to hinder his 2018 season. The Dolphins, soon after the trade rumors stopped, offered James an extension but James declined and opted to play out his 5th year option instead. If those rumors are to be believed.

More from Phin Phanatic

Miami finally has, on paper, a decent offensive line that is bookended by James and Laremy Tunsil. The addition of Daniel Kilgore to play center and Josh Sitton to man the left guard spot has Miami in good shape heading into the off-season and the draft. Miami believes they have their future right guard in Jesse Davis. Keeping James made a whole lot of sense that kept a hole from appearing on the right side.

Anderson had his first 1,000 yard season in 2017 and is a strong runner. He would have pared well with Kenyan Drake. This years draft is deep at running back and Miami may have realized they could add depth in the middle rounds to compliment Drake as well as Frank Gore who they would sign in free agency after the trade rumors died.

Whatever the reason for the nixed trade, the Dolphins made a smart move by not moving on from James. Especially for a simple player for player swap. In the overall scheme of things, having a solid blocking tackle is more important than a running back who will split carries. Maybe Denver realized this as well which is why they were quick to accept it.