The Miami Dolphins tried to make a blockbuster trade with Detroit that would have been their best.
The best trades with the Detroit Lions don’t exist but in 2000 the Miami Dolphins almost made a trade that might have reshaped their history.
In 2000, the Miami Dolphins needed a running back and Jimmy Johnson thought he could find one to pair with Dan Marino. Enter the Detroit Lions and running back Barry Sanders. Johnson has since admitted to trying to trade for Sanders but obviously the trade never happened.
At the time, rumors were circulating that Sanders was potentially on the block. He was in need of a new contract and his agent confirmed that he would consider a trade to the Dolphins. He also has since confirmed that the Dolphins reached out to try and make a trade happen.
Had this trade occured, the Dolphins could have had one of the best offenses in the league. With Dan Marino’s career winding down, Sanders would have given him a nice offset that could have kept the focus off him.
The biggest issue? The Lions didn’t want to give up his rights. Sanders had been “retired” for two seasons now after 10 years with the Lions. Still under contract, Sanders’ rights belonged to Detroit and despite the attempt, Miami couldn’t convince the Lions to give up those rights or Sanders to come out of retirement. The Lions also wanted Sanders to pay back $5.5 million that was paid to him prior to him announcing his retirement. Sanders agreed so long as he was released which Detroit wouldn’t do.
Oh so close? Not really. It was an attempt to make a deal but it was a long shot at best to make it happen. Sanders was content with his decision to remain retired.