Why the Miami Dolphins should and should not trade Kenyan Drake

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 02: Kenyan Drake #32 of the Miami Dolphins breaks a tackle from Matt Milano #58 of the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 02: Kenyan Drake #32 of the Miami Dolphins breaks a tackle from Matt Milano #58 of the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The hot talk around social media on Monday was the future of Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake and a potential trade of him.

To begin, there is no substantial rumor or reliable speculation that Kenyan Drake is on the trade block but his name has surfaced since late last season as a potential off-season asset. Now with the Miami Dolphins gearing up for a franchise re-build, Drake’s name could become more prevalent when trade talks begin.

A rather large contingent of the Dolphins fanbase oppose a trade of Kenyan Drake and this author agrees with them. To a degree. There are reasons to trade the running back and just as many to keep him. So before you go off the rails like they did on social media Monday, weigh the options that the Dolphins have and ask yourself where his value lies.

To begin we need to understand the future of Kenyan Drake in Miami. To do that we have to ask what his future value is to the Miami Dolphins. Drake played very well two years ago and last year he was supposed to break out but Adam Gase and his ego got in the way of showcasing Drake and the bulk of the work went to Frank Gore.

At season’s end, Gase turned to Kalen Ballage instead of Drake. This with the post-season still a possibility. Gase is no longer here so he can be taken out of the equation. Chris Grier however is still here and he knows the strengths, weaknesses, and they why of Drakes falling out last year.

A versatile runner who can catch the football, Drake has a lot of potential to get better. He still needs to improve his pass blocking and blitz pick-up skills and he needs to do less off-script running.

A big knock on Drake is that he takes too many losses in the backfield trying to make big gains instead of hitting the designed holes. This works for and against him because when he does hit the big gains, it can change drives.

Keeping Drake makes a lot of sense because of his talent and athleticism but here is where trading him makes sense and why the Dolphins should or could explore that option. It starts again with where they see him down the road.

Miami has to ask themselves if Drake is a player they want to re-sign when his contract is coming to an end, and that, is this year. Drake’s under contract for the 2019 season and will become a free agent in 2020 if not extended. Miami has to know by now if he warrants a long-term contract.

If the answer to that is “we will see after 2019” then he should be traded this year. The Dolphins have a bad tendency to hold players longer than they should and thus they lose trade value. DeVante Parker is a prime example and had they traded him prior to the 2018 season they would have likely got a decent return for him.

Drake is not going to help the Dolphins win in 2019 so unless he is part of the re-building process he doesn’t need to be here. There is however a but to that statement.

The compensation that Miami would receive for Drake has to make sense. You can’t trade him for a 5th, 6th, or 7th because that is not value in Miami’s hands. Miami could play him in 2019 and evaluate again his long-term future and if they deem him not to be in those plans let him walk and hope for a compensatory pick that could be higher than the 5th, 6th, or 7th being offered now.

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A fourth round pick really doesn’t make sense either because chances are you would be trading Drake for a draft pick you very well could be using to draft another running back. In that scenario it won’t work. If the Dolphins believe they can move forward with Kalen Ballage and the other backs on the roster and possibly add a runner in the 5th or 6th round then trading Drake for a 4th makes sense.

Forget about a 3rd round pick. Drake is not worth it.

For those on the keep Drake and build around him group understand that the Dolphins no longer commit to running backs long-term. Lamar Miller is a prime example In fact in this era of the NFL very few teams put a premium on long-term commitments to running backs.

How this plays out for Drake isn’t really known right now but the Dolphins have not said anything to support him staying or going. If he is traded it shouldn’t come as a surprise and if he isn’t that shouldn’t be a surprise either.

If Drake is on the roster for the 2019 season then the off-season next year will once again bring questions about Drakes future with him either leaving in free agency or being re-signed. Either way, his future is going to be decided sometime in the next calendar year.