Time to consider trading Jason Taylor? Posted on Mon, Sep. 17, 2007 Digg del.icio.us AIM reprint print email BY ARMANDO SALGUERO asalguero@MiamiHerald.com } DOUG BENC / GETTY IMAGES The Dolphins obviously can't give away Jason Taylor as if he was a discarded suit in an outlet store. So anything less than a first-round pick wouldn't make it worthwhile for Miami. The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 16 and that fact is important now only because the Dolphins should use the next four weeks to do the difficult thing and trade Jason Taylor. The idea of Miami trading its best player is neither new nor born of desperation, but rather, it is a logical move that demands serious thought, a move any straight-thinking NFL man would consider. Don Shula, only the winningest coach in NFL history, not only considered a similar move years ago, but nearly took the step when he almost traded Dan Marino to the Oakland Raiders. The reason Marino didn't play his final decade in silver and black is because Shula and Oakland owner Al Davis came to an agreement on the trade and then Shula increased the ante not once but twice, basically forcing Davis to walk away from the clearly lopsided deal. But Shula's idea at the time is one the Dolphins should be seriously pondering now. The coach wanted to take the only marketable player he had on his roster and exchange him for multiple draft picks that could help him rebuild an aging, fading franchise. Shula rescued those Dolphins of the early 1990s without having to make that blockbuster trade, but now Coach Cam Cameron and General Manager Randy Mueller face a similar scenario. The Dolphins, barring an unexpected rebound, are several years and multiple solid drafts away from being a contending team. The first two games this season have proven Miami cannot run the ball and cannot stop the run, which in football parlance means the Dolphins have zero chance to win many games. So it simply makes sense for this team to dangle Taylor between now and Oct. 16, or, failing that, try to trade the face of their defense after this season. It is not only the smart thing, but also the right thing to do. It is the smart thing because somewhere out there, among the list of teams that count themselves one star pass-rusher from Super Bowl contention, Taylor's value is likely high enough to make a trade not only intriguing, but inviting. The Dolphins obviously can't give away Taylor as if he was a discarded suit in an outlet store. So anything less than a first-round pick wouldn't make it worthwhile for Miami. It's a steep price but perhaps the Broncos, Colts, Seahawks, Cowboys, or even the Patriots, could be enticed into giving up such a pick for the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Sound crazy? The Patriots yielded a second and seventh round pick to the Dolphins for Wes Welker. That proves the lure of a championship, or another championship in the case of the Colts and Patriots, can be so hypnotic as to make even conservative personnel men consider the improbable. There are, as with everything in the NFL, salary cap implications. And teams would have to believe Taylor, at 33, is not on such a precipitous decline that the trade would bring embarrassment. But there are ways to manage the cap, and a re-energized Taylor is likely to be a good player at least through the end of his current contract in 2009. So it not only makes sense to try, it borders on the irresponsible if the Dolphins don't. It also would be crazy if Taylor didn't consider making the request himself. The truth is he will never win a Super Bowl ring in Miami. The Dolphins are no closer to being a championship team today than they were five years ago when Taylor was younger and ascending. The passing of those five years have brought the Dolphins zero playoff berths despite the presence of a proud defense. Taylor should be mature enough to recognize that the defense isn't too proud anymore as it gives up rushing yards in first-down chunks. So that should suggest to Taylor his future in Miami could bear an uncanny, uncomfortable resemblance to Marino's final years about a decade ago. Marino's final years were a struggle as he clashed with a new coach who was focused on fixing the long-broken defense. Taylor's final years promise much of the same, as his delicate relationship with Cameron could become a struggle as the new coach focuses on his offense. So it would be in Taylor's best interest to think about playing somewhere else, with a team not in need of major reconstruction, where he is the final piece of a now-complete puzzle instead of the cornerstone of a huge rebuilding project. The alternative is Taylor will be thought of in the same light as Marino -- gifted superstars that played their entire careers with a team that wasted their skills. Armando Salguero can be heard every weeknight 7-8 p.m. on 790 The Ticket.