Steal of a Deal?

Whether you're for or against the trade of Marty Booker for Adewale Ogunleye, the general feeling from around the league is that GM Jerry Angelo got the better of the Dolphins. See what's being said in Miami.

An off-season of questionable personnel decisions by first-year general manager Rick Spielman will come under even more scrutiny following a trade sending Pro Bowl defensive end Adewale Ogunleye to Chicago for wide receiver Marty Booker and a 2005 third-round draft choice.

Ultimately, the Dolphins didn't believe Ogunleye was worth the kind of contract offer Chicago was willing to offer (six years, $33.4 million with $15 million in bonus money). Booker actually has a higher salary cap number ($2.7 million) this season than Ogunleye will in Chicago ($2.1 million).

The Dolphins will find out soon enough whether Ogunleye's success the past two seasons (24.5 sacks) was largely the result of his getting to play on the opposite side of standout end Jason Taylor. But it's fair to wonder whether the Dolphins would have landed an even better offer for Ogunleye before the draft.

The Dolphins were so intent on retaining Ogunleye's services for at least the 2004 season that he was given a $1.84 million tender requiring an interested suitor to surrender first- and third-round picks as compensation. But the Dolphins made little effort to sign Ogunleye to a long-term deal after the draft, which raises questions about whether the team underestimated his resolve in sitting out as long as he could under NFL rules (10 games) to still acquire an accrued season toward unrestricted free agency.

Faced with the prospect of such an elongated absence - combined with the injuries that have wracked the wide receiver corps - the Dolphins appeared to have blinked and salvaged what they could under the circumstances.

Ogunleye was only appealing to teams who had the cap room available to offer a long-term deal. Chicago was getting little production at defensive end and felt Booker was expendable because of its young talent at wide receiver.

Because he isn't a household name despite his productivity, a Booker-for-Ogunleye trade scenario was inevitably going to get criticized by some Dolphins fans. But Spielman already is being second-guessed for such moves as:

-- Trading a 2005 second-round pick to Philadelphia for quarterback A.J. Feeley, who has failed to beat out incumbent Jay Fiedler for a starting spot.

-- Struggling to find a replacement right tackle for Todd Wade, who departed via free agency to Houston.

-- Not acquiring another quality wide receiver via the draft or free agency in case David Boston wasn't able to get his career back on track. Boston is now out for the season with a knee injury.

-- Sending a fourth-round draft choice to Minnesota to move up one spot in the first round to select guard/tackle Vernon Carey amid fears New England was going to leap up from No. 22 for the ex-University of Miami standout.

If those moves don't pan out, there is the chance Spielman might not get a second season as a general manager if Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga cleans house following what is projected as a poor season.


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