How do Dolphins’ draft trades measure versus NFL trade value chart?

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Kyle Crabbs
·3 min read
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The Miami Dolphins have created quite the fuss this afternoon with their decision to parlay trades together and fall from No. 3 in the NFL Draft order all the way back to No. 12 — only to pivot and jump back up to No. 6 overall in a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Miami gives the name “March Madness” new meaning with their pair of moves — decisions that will ultimately net the Dolphins an extra 2022 3rd-round selection and an extra 2023 1st-round selection courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers.

But how do these trades measure up to the NFL’s trade value chart; a tool formulated by Jimmy Johnson in the 1990s to help measure the value of draft assets and help negotiate trades?

We’ll look at each component of this deal separately.

Deal with San Francisco

49ers receive: No. 3 overall
Dolphins receive: No. 12 overall, 2022 1st-round pick, 2022 3rd-round pick, 2023 1st round pick

The No. 3 pick, according to the NFL trade value chart, is worth a total of 2,200 points according to the Jimmy Johnson model. For a point of reference, the No. 1 overall pick is worth 3,000 points and the No. 32 ocerall selection is worth 590 points. There is exponential depreciation throughout the top-10 overall selections.

Miami’s return for No. 3 overall? It comfortably surpasses the threshold of 2,200 points. No. 12 overall is valued at 1,200 points; a strong start. Calculating the value of future picks is somewhat murky, given you don’t know where those picks will fall in the order. But even if San Francisco won consecutive Super Bowls in 2021 and 2022, the assets sent back to Miami would have been valued at 590 points apiece, plus a compensatory 3rd-round choice in 2022 that would forecast at about 80 points as well.

In all, the Dolphins received assets at worst valued at 2,460 points for No. 3 overall; a net positive of 260 points. But those future picks are often forecasted to fall somewhere in the middle of the round; as projecting consecutive Super Bowls is overly ambitious and it is easier to project finishes in the middle of the round. If San Francisco held the middle pick in each of the 2022 and 2023 NFL Drafts, it would boost an additional 820 points onto the value Miami received — pushing their value to 3,280 points (more than the value of the No. 1 overall pick).

Deal with Philadelphia

Eagles receive: No. 12 overall, No. 123 overall, 2022 1st-round pick
Dolphins receive: No. 6 overall, No. 156 overall

Miami’s rebound back to No. 6 features more moving parts. The No. 12 pick, worth 1,200 points, pairs with the No. 123 overall pick (49 points) and the Dolphins’ own 2022 1st-round pick (call it 1,000 points to project at No. 16 overall for neutral valuation) are worth a combined 2,249 points — but that figure could fall as low as 1,299 point if the Dolphins were to win the Super Bowl next season.

The value of the No. 6 overall pick checks in at 1,600 points, plus 27.4 points for No. 156 overall.

The successful value and net positive of this deal will be dependent on two things. How much team success the Dolphins have in 2021 and how much the player they end up drafting at No. 6 has to do with it. If Miami makes a playoff run, they’ll walk away from this exchange as winners according to the numbers, too.