Is Detroit OT Taylor Decker a realistic trade target for Dolphins?

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Miami Dolphins fans everywhere have appeared to collectively smashed the “panic” button as it pertains to the team’s offensive line play after a disastrous Week 2 performance that pushed the Dolphins’ record to 1-1 and left them without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for the foreseeable future. These are not ideal times — and just one week after a major AFC East win over New England elated the fanbase, we find ourselves as the complete opposite end of the spectrum in the buildup to Week 3.

And with 2020 draft choice Austin Jackson struggling to keep his head above water at left tackle and Jesse Davis keeping the seat warm at right tackle until rookie Liam Eichenberg is deemed ready to play, Miami’s tackle situation is also “not ideal”. And we’re being nice, there.

One popular name among Dolphins fans this week for a potential solution is Detroit Lions tackle Taylor Decker. Decker, a former 1st-round draft choice out of Ohio State, is 28-years old and currently on Injured Reserve for the Lions after suffering a finger injury at practice just ahead of the season opener; meaning Week 3 will be the final week Decker must miss in accordance with roster rules and IR policy.

So, if Decker is able to come back next week and pass a physical, is he a realistic trade target for the Dolphins?

Here’s the things working in Miami’s favor — assuming they’re interested in the first place. Decker plays for an 0-2 Lions team that is just starting their rebuilding process; they’re not expected to be competitive or in their winning window this year or next. So paying an offensive tackle top money to play for a non-contending team seems a little counterproductive.

Especially when you consider the man who has been filling the void is rookie Penei Sewell — and Sewell has been crushing it. With a potential successor already in house and taking those reps, the vision of what a line without Decker looks like for Detroit is certainly easier to process and, perhaps, easier to buy into.

Financially for Miami, Decker’s contract will be quite easy to absorb — his contract was restructured to manufacture cap space and his base salary this season is just $1M dollars — he was given a $12M restructure bonus up front from Detroit as the majority of his 2021 compensation. Miami, should they hypothetically acquire Decker via trade, would only be responsible for the $1M base salary against their cap in 2021. From there, Decker’s pay per season grows to $15M in 2022, $13.95M in 2023 and $13.7M in 2024.

In short, there are lots of attractive possibilities with Decker on the table. But what would the cost be?

Miami fans would likely tell you to pay the cost no matter what. But is there any chance Miami can package an existing player with a Day 2 selection to make this happen? Detroit’s wide receivers are abysmally thin. Miami has a major surplus at the position. Perhaps a returning young talent (Jackson?) would move the needle for the Lions?

These are the kinds of questions that we don’t have answers to and that really prevent any realistic speculation on what may or may not be possible with Miami and the hypothetical trade. What we do know is this:

Miami needs all the offensive line help that they can get. And Decker seems like a good place to start as far as making exploratory phone calls.