July 20th, 2008 will be a day that Miami Dolphins fans remember for a long time. I mean, it’s been 14 years and I still can’t forget. On that day, Miami traded Hall of Fame defensive end Jason Taylor to Washington in exchange for a 2009 2nd round pick and a 2010 6th round pick. I’m sorry, what? Well, it sounds bad but it’s not quite so simple.
Let’s explore this deal a little more in-depth and see if we can come to a consensus on who won this blockbuster trade.
Before we begin, let’s talk about Jason Taylor leading up to the trade.
Jason Taylor, drafted in 1997 by the Miami Dolphins in round 3, was entering his 12th season in 2008. Across those 11 seasons of action, Taylor delivered 117 regular-season sacks, 444 solo tackles, 26 fumble recoveries and 8 total touchdowns. As an aside, if it wasn’t obvious to you before why JT was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame then hopefully that solidifies it for you.
During that 2008 offseason, however, is where things with Miami began to turn sour. If that offseason sounds familiar, it could be because this was the year of Dancing with the Stars starring – you guesses it – Jason Taylor. Taylor, whose team was in the heart of voluntary mini-camps, opted out of that voluntary work to participate in Dancing with the Stars. This reportedly infuriated then-president Bill Parcells. In fact, it’s been reported that when Jason Taylor eventually did show up, and walked into a room where Parcells was watching tape, he was ignored by the head man. The relationship was breaking.
On July 20th, 2008 Jason Taylor was traded to Washington and the rest is history. It’s worth noting, however, that Taylor would reconcile with the Dolphins and return to Miami just one season later.
What’s even more interesting than the trade itself is what the picks Miami received turned into.
So what came of those picks the Dolphins received?
Ultimately, trading Jason Taylor – for basically a season – resulted in the Dolphins acquiring two players.
- 2009 2nd Rounder (Pick 44): Pat White, QB West Virginia
- 2010 6th Rounder (Pick 174): This pick, paired with a 7th round (219), was traded to Washington for pick 163. The Miami Dolphins selected Reshad Jones, Safety Georgia.
So – to put it simply: Miami traded Jason Taylor to Washington for the right to draft both Pat White and Reshad Jones. And by traded, I really mean lent them. How do we feel about that? Let’s dig deeper.
Let’s start with Pat White, QB, West Virginia
Just one year after drafting Chad Henne in the 2nd round out of Michigan and signing Chad Pennington after his release by the Jets, Miami was looking to add another quarterback to their roster. Insert Pat White, whom according to then GM Jeff Ireland, would compete with Henne and Pennington for the starting job.
Pat White, while slight of frame, was believed by many to be a Michael Vick-style quarterback with a strong arm, despite lower upper-body strength, and an elusive running style that was sure to make defenders miss. I can absolutely understand why, in the short-lived era of the Wildcat, Pat White would be an appealing prospect. In fact, NFL.com noted in their 2009 draft prospect profile that White was capable of making “defenders miss with spin and juke moves in the open” while also recognizing that he’d “also take and deliver big hits despite his wiry frame.” We know now that this was considerable foreshadowing.
During the 2009 Season, Pat White would largely fill the role of wildcat quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, slotting in behind both Chad Pennington and Chad Henne, before Pennington was lost for the season in week 3. Over the course of 13 games that White appeared in, he threw zero passes and ran just 21 times for 81 yards. While this was not the season White was hoping for, this was hardly his biggest concern.
In the final week of the season, playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pat White took a massive hit to the helmet from Ike Taylor in what we now know was his last regular season action as an NFL quarterback. I’ll never forget that hit and couldn’t have been more glad that Pat White was treated so quickly and deemed ok to be released from the hospital. A hit like that is always frightening to see.
Unfortunately for Pat White, he would go on to be waived by the Dolphins just 17 months after being drafted 44th overall. As an aside, Pat White would go two years before signing with an NFL time whom just so happened to be Washington. He didn’t make the opening day roster.
So far, it would appear that Washington is seeing the better side of this trade.
Then, along came Reshad Jones, Safety, Georgia
This is where this trade starts to get interesting. With the 163rd pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, Miami Selected Reshad Jones.
During his 10 season career, Jones would be voted to the Pro Bowl twice while amassing 10.5 sacks, 21 interceptions, 599 solo tackles, and 6 total touchdowns. He was also named to the Pro Football Focus all-pro team in 2012, a year in which Jones would grade-out as a 91 according to PFF.
Reshad was a significant contributor to the Dolphins defense for most of his decade in the league. Outside of one 4-game suspension for PED’s and 2 injury shortened seasons, Reshad was a reliable factor in the secondary and would ultimately become a fan-favorite with #20 jerseys across the stadium.
To further illustrate the impact that Reshad had on opposing offenses, he even earned a mega-deal in 2017 which would pay him $60 million across the five years of the contact. While he wouldn’t play out that contract, Reshad still put up strong numbers in 2017, being named to the Pro Bowl that year. Again, in 2018, Jones had another strong season – with his third highest single-season INT output. However, 2019 ultimately brought with it more injuries and an end to an outstanding career just two years short of the end of that new, big money contract.
Reshad will forever be beloved by fans for his consistency and charisma as a Miami Dolphin – only made possible by the trade of Jason Taylor.
So, who won this trade?
I think that while there’s a lot to take in with this one, ultimately there’s a very clear winner. On one hand, the Dolphins traded away superstar Jason Taylor four seasons before he would hang up the cleats – this cannot possibly be accepted by Dolphins fans. On the other hand, they were able to turn one of those picks they acquired into Reshad Jones, a ten year pro-bowl starting safety. Oh, and they got Jason Taylor back a year later.
Sure, Pat White didn’t work out at QB and the wildcat offense faded to nothing more than a blip on most teams radars. That’s just part of the equation. When it comes to this trade, the real prize truly was Reshad Jones.
With all of that in mind, I can’t help but to think that Miami absolutely won this trade. Not only did they effectively loan Jason Taylor to Washington for a year – a year in which Miami was certainly not a contender – but they solidified the safety position for a decade in the process.