Happy Ending For All?

The Redskins, able to get a Pro Bowl defensive end at a reasonable price, are very happy about the Jason Taylor trade. Taylor himself is happy now that he got his wish of leaving a franchise with little chance to contend in the near future. But what about the Dolphins? Should they be happy about losing their best player for a second-round pick in 2009 and a sixth-rounder in 2010?

There is no question whatsoever the Dolphins defense will be nowhere near as good this fall without Taylor than it would have been with him because you just don't lose a pass rusher of his caliber without feeling the effects.

But this, obviously, was a trade made with the future in mind, a trade that tells us -- in case there was any doubt -- that the new regime is trying to put the pieces in place to be able to contend three years from now, maybe two, maybe one, but certainly not right away.

In that sense, getting a second-round pick from Taylor had to be considered a good deal for the Dolphins, who might not have been able to contend regardless before Taylor either retired or his skills started to diminish.

Taylor still is a premier player, and he should have a huge impact on the Washington defense, but he's also going to be 34 when the 2008 season kicks off. The truth is you just don't see many speed rushers put up big numbers into their late 30s -- no matter what kind of shape they're in.

The biggest impact of the trade, though, might be a case of addition by subtraction because the whole Taylor/dancing/trade/Sparano/holdout episode figured to be nothing but a distraction for a franchise that clearly has had too many of those and just needs to focus on getting things back on track.

It was, quite frankly, a sad departure because Taylor meant so much to the Dolphins for so long, but it also was inevitable. Just like it was almost inevitable after last season that the Dolphins would be saying goodbye to Zach Thomas.

Every Dolphins fan would have liked to see the team contend for a Super Bowl with a defense led by those two guys, but that stopped being realistic by Nick Saban's second year in charge.

The Dolphins clearly are in rebuilding mode, and now they're doing it right. It's just that rebuilding means you have to let go of some of your older, most popular players.

Jason Taylor fit that description. Maybe the Dolphins could have gotten more had they waited a bit longer and another injury elsewhere could have forced a bidding war. But there was something to be said for finally ending that chapter, and the price still was pretty good.

So, yes, indeed the Dolphins have every reason to be happy with the conclusion of the Taylor affair.

In the end, the only ones not happy are those fans who still were clinging to the hope that Taylor could be totally happy returning to the Dolphins and the team miraculously could contend with him in 2008.

That just wasn't realistic. Short of that, the whole thing played out in the end just about as well it could.

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