Tha Sports Junkies 101

What Does The Jay Ajayi Trade Mean For The Dolphins Season?

Dolphins season philliesfan136 via Flickr


How Does The Jay Ajayi Trade Affect The Dolphins Season?

On Tuesday, the Miami Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round pick in surprising fashion. Rumors of a possible Jarvis Landry trade came up the pipe from Miami, but nobody honestly saw the Jay Ajayi trade coming. Ajay is among the top five in the NFL in broken tackles and yards after contact since he entered the league. However, according to many Miami beat writers and analysts, Ajayi is believed to have a short career running the football. Coming out of college, the consensus was Ajayi’s knees would give out eventually. NFL running backs are already becoming easily replaceable, and having knee issues will steer most teams away. As a result, many fans are wondering whether the Dolphins season is in jeopardy.

Off The Field Problems

Despite these issues, Ajayi was considered to be a fifth-round steal after blowing up in 2016, notching three separate 200-yard rushing performances. Pushing, shoving, and using pure strength to create his own holes are some of his best attributes. Many fans are in utter confusion over the fourth-round pick value for Ajayi. He is a Pro Bowl running back and finds yards that the offensive line will not give him. The trade is already causing some controversy, but Gase is confident in his tailback situation.

On the other hand, issues with Adam Gase off the field probably pushed him out of Miami. According to multiple sources within the organization, frustration with the offense upset Ajayi. Gase labels himself and Ajayi as the biggest hot heads on the team, and apparently, the two never meshed together. For weeks, Gase has been hammering his players for not doing their individual jobs and trying to be bigger than the team. This was a message to the team, get it right or sit on the bench. Gase made his message heard loud and clear; no one player is bigger than this team.

Is The Season Over?

Naturally, when a team is struggling and trades a big-name player, fans panic.

Maybe they are preparing for next year?

Maybe Adam Gase will not be coaching in Miami come 2018?

How will this offense even fathom moving the ball without Ajayi?

In the wise words of Aaron Rodgers, R-E-L-A-X. Adam Gase led a terrible team to the playoffs last year, even without Ryan Tannehill. Despite owning the worst offense in the NFL, the play calling is not the problem. This is the worst offensive line in the league by far. The season is not over, and Gase will be in Miami next year. The guy knows what he is doing, and Matt Moore does not do his offense any favors. Gase is confident in Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams. Both are talented backs that live in Ajayi’s shadow. If Drake gets starting carries, he is really dangerous.

Why Did They Trade Him?

To be quite honest, Ajayi’s running style will not work behind this line like it did in 2016. Drake is faster, and an excellent receiver. When he turns the corner, you never know which way he will go. Ajayi may be great, but he is not very fast and doesn’t have the cutback ability you look for in a spread style back. Gase figures he can get the same production out of Drake and Williams behind a horrid line.

Aside from off the field issues, Ajayi is set to get paid in 2018, and it seems like Miami had no intention of resigning him. When you take into account the offensive line, off the field problems, and the money, it all makes sense. The 2018 running back class is going to be chock full of studs and could be a position Miami attacks in the draft. Miami beat writer Omar Kelly says the Dolphins are confident in Drake.

Trust Adam Gase

It seems the coaches and executives see something special in Kenyan Drake. The Dolphins season does not ride on a single running back. Gase is excellent at identifying talent, and the fans need to trust him on this one. Adam Gase and Jay Cutler are the reason this team has a winning record. The defense has played well, but this offense overcame TWO double-digit fourth-quarter deficits this season. None of that was because of Jay Ajayi. He breaks off big runs but doesn’t look as patient as in 2016.

Drake may not break as many tackles, but that is because he is so quick most defenders get shaken out of their cleats. Bigger backs have a harder time behind slow, sluggish offensive lines. Drake is fast enough to get around the corner and scare defenses. Many are skeptical of Drake’s low yards-per-carry and overall production. However, he has yet to receive starting reps consistently. Look for him to really shine this season with the opportunity to be the feature back.

Season Outlook

Sitting at 4-3, with a big Sunday night game against the Raiders coming up, the Dolphins season is far from over. The AFC does not look nearly as potent as it did last season. Almost the entire conference is 6-2, 5-3, or 4-4. Jay Cutler should be coming back from his rib injury soon, and it is apparent that this is his offense.

Everyone in America got a taste of what Matt Moore can do against the Jets, leading a 14-point comeback win. Then we saw the other side of the gunslinger, who looked like a rookie against Baltimore, en route to getting crushed 40-0. Now the offensive line is to blame, but Moore showed little pocket awareness and screamed backup. If the offense even slightly improves, things could take a positive turn for Miami. This team has a bright future if Kenyan Drake turns out to be what the organization thinks. Damien Williams will become the red zone and third-down back.

Dolphin fans need to relax and let Adam Gase work his magic on the Dolphins season. It worked last year, didn’t it?