The Miami Dolphins have made some good trades with the Browns.
Let’s start with the positive, shall we? The best trade the Miami Dolphins made with the Browns is, without a doubt, the acquisition of wide receiver Paul Warfield in 1970. At the time, Warfield was coming off consecutive seasons with double-digit touchdowns and averaged 21 yards-per-catch. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and considered one of the premier wide receivers in the game at the time.
Warfield would go on to become one of the foundational pieces for head coach Don Shula’s back-to-back Super Bowl championships. Since those early 70’s Dolphins teams were so run-heavy, Warfield’s catch numbers were rather pedestrian (1971 was the only year that he had more than 30 catches). However, he was the big play threat; the needed ‘lightning’ to compliment the Dolphins ‘thunderous’ three-headed rushing monster on offense.
Acquiring Paul Warfield was the best trade made with the Cleveland Browns.
What did the Dolphins give up? The third pick in the 1970 draft. While that is quite a hefty price by today’s standards, draft picks were not as highly coveted back then as proven players. Cleveland did the deal because they were looking for their “QB of the future”. When Terry Bradshaw went first overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns selected QB Mike Phipps out of Purdue.
While Warfield continued his Hall of Fame career, Phipps lasted just 7 years in Cleveland. He finished his Browns career with a completion percentage of 48.1%, 40 touchdowns and 81 interceptions.
As recently as last year, NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison rated Paul Warfield number one on his “Top 20 Traded Players” list.