The Miami Dolphins are clearly in sell mode after dealing Brandon Marshall and Vontae Davis. If they are building for the future then they must consider what to do with left tackle Jake Long. The Pittsburgh Steelers could have the answer.
Healthy Long can't protect and receive for Ryan Tannehill
Before answering questions about how healthy his sprained MCL was after a knee injury in practice, Jake Long watched line teammate Richie Incognito ask him if he could help the Dolphins with their list of problems at wide receiver. It got some laughs but also stung a bit for Miami fans. Even once he's healthy, Long can't solve all the problems for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He is a four-time Pro Bowl left tackle, but all the protection in the world won't matter if Tannehill has no receivers getting open. That is why the sudden fire sale of players from the roster is curious for the Dolphins. They dealt Brandon Marshall, easily their best offensive player to Chicago. Then they sent starting corner Vontae Davis to Indianapolis. In return they got three draft picks. Head coach Joe Philbin didn't inherit a great team, but it was a team that might have made the playoffs with some better quarterback play. Now most experts don't see Miami sniffing the post season. If rebuilding is the new word among the front office, then Long becomes an issue because his contract expires after the season. At 28 years old he probably won't want to spend his prime trying to pull the team out of its futility. That means they could trade him. The question is where?
Mike Wallace trade option makes sense after latest roster cuts
The list isn't short for the teams that would love to have Jake Long. Chicago, Arizona, and St. Louis jump to mind but one should not ignore the Steelers. Despite spending their two highest draft picks on offensive linemen, the team hasn't solved any of their issues. Rookie right guard David DeCastro tore his MCL and won't return until at least halfway through the season. Rookie left tackle Mike Adams played very poorly in the preseason before getting injured himself. A recent round of roster cuts that included veteran Trai Essex only made the issue clearer. Unless Pittsburgh can do something they might risk getting their biggest asset in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger knocked down for the count. That is where receiver Mike Wallace comes in. While fans rejoice on him returning to sign his franchise tender contract, it doesn't make the problems of no long-term deal go away. He becomes a free agent again in 2013 and another Pro Bowl year might put his dollar demands out of reach for the Steelers. That is why his trade value means more at this point. Miami desperately needs a true star at receiver and Pittsburgh needs a left tackle in the worst way. Swapping Long for Wallace could work out well for both teams.
It sounds too simple offering a straight up trade of Jake Long and Mike Wallace. Fans will cry that neither player will ever leave those teams, but no one can argue with the problems the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers face.