Early Verdict on Trade

The Dolphins made a big move on Tuesday when they sent wide receiver Chris Chambers to the San Diego in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2008 draft. It's a move that clearly signifies the Dolphins are looking to the future and trying to stockpile draft picks. But was trading away the team's No. 1 receiver the right move?

Quick answer: Absolutely.

Stockpiling draft picks is exactly what the Dolphins need to do, today, tomorrow and even the day after.

The Dolphins just can't have too many draft picks moving forward. It's going to a lot of players to get this team turned around, and the draft is the best place to get young guys who can come in, contribute and get better.

Chambers obviously was a major contributor on this team, but the reality is he wasn't a difference-maker. He never was in his six-plus seasons with the Dolphins except for that three-week stretch toward the end of the 2005 season when he put up huge numbers.

That stretch helped him make the Pro Bowl that season, but even that year he as very consistent.

Heck, on the day he burned Buffalo for 15 catches for 238 yards in a December victory in 2005, he put up most of his stats in the second half after having a poor first half that included dropping a bomb from Gus Frerotte.

That's the way it was throughout Chambers' time in Miami. One acrobatic catch. A false start. Another great catch. A drop.

Chambers was a solid wide receiver, and we might even push that to good, but he was never a great receiver. He was nowhere anywhere near the class of NFL's elite at the position, the class of guys like Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, Chad Johnson or Steve Smith or Terrell Owens.

There were a few times when it looked as though Chambers was on the verge of taking that big step, but then he seemingly always would take a step back.

Sure, Chambers never had the good fortune of playing with a great quarterback and he also had six offensive coordinators in six-plus seasons with the Dolphins. But that doesn't excuse everything.

See, there was a reason Chambers was a second-round pick in the first place back in 2001. He was a guy with great athletic ability, as evidenced by the fact he spent time on Wisconsin's basketball team, but he never was a great wide receiver.

We would go as far as to suggest he never really was a pure No. 1 receiver, but was forced to be one with the Dolphins because they never had anybody better on the other side.

Sure, trading him leaves little at the wide receiver position -- unless Ted Ginn Jr. develops very rapidly -- but the chance to get a second-round pick for him was way too good to pass up.

Of course, if Chambers lights it up in San Diego and helps the Chargers move far into the playoffs, we might look back at this trade with regret, but nothing we've seen suggests that's going to happen.

Rather, it's more likely Chambers will have a couple of big days in San Diego and other days when he's making mistakes, whether it be dropping a pass or committing a penalty or not fighting for a pass.

The Dolphins got back for Chambers exactly what it took to get him in the first place. He did a more than adequate job for the Dolphins during his six-plus seasons, but he wasn't going to be the player to bring back the franchise.

That's why making this deal was a no-brainer for the Dolphins.


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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.