DOLPHINS TRADE NO. 1 PICK (25TH) AND FOURTH-ROUND PICK (125TH) IN 2002 AND NO. 1 PICK (18TH) IN 2003 TO NEW ORLEANS FOR RICKY WILLIAMS AND FOURTH-ROUND PICK (114) IN 2002.
The Herald gives this one a Dishonorable Mention but that’s being way too generous to this disaster. It seemed like a good idea at the time but in retrospect this deal looks worse with each passing bong hit. Two first-round picks is a hell of a lot to give up for any player but the Dolphins need for big-time running back was just as huge in 2002 as it had been for the previous (wait for it) 27 years! Miami had wasted Dan Marino’s entire career by failing to provide him with a running game so they sure as hell weren’t going to repeat that mistake with, uh, Jay Fiedler. So goodbye draft picks, hello Ricky. The relationship started out great. Ricky had the best season any Dolphin back’s ever had. Miami missed the playoffs that year in part due to the Dolphins coaching brain trust’s failure to give the ball to Williams at the end of the 2002 regular season finale versus New England. Miami couldn’t run out the clock, letting the Patriots come back and knock Miami out of the playoffs. From this Wannstedt learned one lesson: give Ricky even more carries! In 2003, Ricky toted the rock 393 times. The workload got to him and his rushing average dropped form 4.8 ypc to 3.5. And there’d be no bounce back in 2004. You see, Ricky decided to retire because, as we later found out, he was a midnight toker of the highest order. He left the game to avoid the drug test that would undoubtedly find traces of his beloved weed in his bloodstream. Ricky’s sudden retirement left the Dolphins with no viable running game for 2004 and the comical last-second efforts to gin one up (i.e the Lamar Gordon trade) expectedly failed. In short order, Ricky’s retreat led to the team’s worst record since before the merger, Wannstedt resigned in mid-season, and the team crashed and burned. The collapse necessitated an extreme makeover that resulted in the aborted Nick Saban era. Ricky later decided that as much as he loved the ganja he also loved the millions in bonus money Miami had given him that he didn’t want to pay back. So he returned for a good portion of the 2005 season and played pretty well alternating with Ronnie Brown. (Thanks to Ricky, Miami had to burn their overall #3 pick in 2005 on Brown). But as we know, Ricky couldn’t fight off his reefer madness forever and his comeback was short-lived. Several suspensions later we seem to have come to the end of Ricky Williams’ NFL career.
What if Miami had Miami just kept their draft picks? I'm glad I asked. With the 25th overall pick in 2002 they could have landed DeShaun Foster (34) or Clinton Portis (51). Hell, they could have traded down and still snagged one of them. Better yet, had they used their 2003 17th overall pick on a back, they could have grabbed Willis McGahee (23) or Larry Johnson (27)!
So the final tally: three number one picks (if you count the one used to take Ricky’s replacement Ronnie Brown), the franchise’s collapse in 2004, the resulting Nick Saban fiasco, and turning a once-proud franchise into a punch-line.
THAT is one bad trade.
The Worst Trade in Miami Dolphins' History:
Addendum: The Marlin Briscoe Trade