The Miami Dolphins were said to be prepared to swing a trade and move young safety Minkah Fitzpatrick this week, and that proved to be the case on Monday night. After various teams had been linked as potential landing spots, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers who emerged and struck a deal.
As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, the Dolphins also received the first-round draft pick they were seeking in the trade. Per Schefter, the Steelers are sending their 2020 first-round selection to Miami in exchange for Fitzpatrick.
Update: Additional terms of the trade were revealed shortly after the initial report.
It’s not a surprising move, considering the fact that the Dolphins appear to be going through a major overhaul currently, and have struggled mightily through the first two games of the 2019 NFL season. All signs point to a rebuild and a team essentially set to start over at multiple key positions.
In games against the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots this year, Miami has been outscored 102-10 and is fresh off a brutal 43-0 loss in Week 2 against Tom Brady and company.
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Minkah Fitzpatrick Trade Comes After Ben Roethlisberger Injury
While the Dolphins’ decision to deal Fitzpatrick isn’t surprising, the Steelers opting to address their defense on Monday is a bit eye-opening. This is due to the fact that Ben Roethlisberger’s Week 2 injury was revealed to be season-ending, leaving the team in search of an answer at the quarterback position.
Mason Rudolph stepped in for Roethlisberger against the Seahawks Seahawks and played fairly well, but it’s unknown if he’ll be the answer at the position for the remainder of the year. Rudolph completed 12-of-19 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns with one interception during the team’s 28-26 loss against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Going beyond just the aspect of replacing Roethlisberger, the Steelers also fell to 0-2 on the year with this loss, as they dropped their opener against the Patriots by a score of 33-3.
Minkah Fitzpatrick’s Impressive Young Career
The Dolphins selected Fitzpatrick with the No. 11 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of the University of Alabama. He played three seasons with the Crimson Tide, tallying 171 combined tackles and 16.5 for loss, along with 24 passes defensed, nine interceptions, five sacks and two forced fumbles.
Fitzpatrick’s best single-season came as a sophomore in 2016 when he racked up 66 tackles with a superb six interceptions, seven passes defensed and two touchdowns. There was plenty of hype surrounding the safety ahead of the NFL draft, and he quickly lived up to it during year No. 1 with the Dolphins.
The 22-year-old played all 16 games last year, totaling 80 combined tackles, nine passes defensed, two interceptions and one touchdown. With the Dolphins appearing to overhaul their roster, though, they seemed more than ready and willing to deal Fitzpatrick to whichever team put together the best trade offer.
As we’ve now seen, the Steelers stepped to the plate and offered up a strong deal in the form of a first-round pick next year. It got the job done, but it’s unknown what other packages the Dolphins received for Fitzpatrick.