The Miami Dolphins are trading left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills to the Houston Texans for two first-round NFL draft picks, a second-round pick, as well as offensive tackle Julién Davenport and cornerback Johnson Bademosi, according to reports on Sunday.
The trade, which will be made official after the players pass a physical exam, also includes a fourth-round draft pick for the Texans, who themselves traded Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks just a few hours beforehand.
Both Tunsil and Stills have at different times rubbed the Dolphins' and league brass the wrong way, which might explain the motivation for the trade.
It’s been a long road for Tunsil, as the 25-year-old was initially projected to be the No. 1 draft pick back in 2016, but was ultimately passed over by multiple teams at the last minute and selected 13th overall.
Tunsil famously claimed his Twitter account had been hacked after a photo of him appearing to be smoking marijuana out of a gas mask bong was posted just ten minutes before the start of the draft.
Regardless, his presence on the Texans is sorely needed, as a weak offensive line caused Deshaun Watson to be sacked 62 times last season, the second-most in NFL history and third-most in franchise history.
Meanwhile, 27-year-old Stills may have talked his way out of Miami after criticizing Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross for holding a fundraiser for President Donald Trump on Aug. 7 and after voicing cynicism over Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL to “enhance the NFL's live game experiences and to amplify the league's social justice efforts,” according to an NFL.com report.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores responded by playing eight Jay-Z songs in a row during a recent practice during training camp in an effort to motivate Stills to improve his performance on the field.
"I would say, and I said this to him, he hasn't performed up to that level over the course of training camp, or as I've seen. So that was the challenge, to get open, catch the football and make plays for this team, regardless of what's going on outside of this building," Flores said of playing the songs during practice.
Now, Houston will be paying Skills’ $7,975,000 base salary for 2019, while also picking up the tab for Tunsil’s relatively modest $2.15 million salary, which is set to increase to $10.35 million next year. The timing of Tunsil's trade almost makes it seem as if the Dolphins aren't looking to spend that kind of money on him.
However, the move could prove to cause some turmoil in the Dolphins locker room, with Tunsil being one of the team’s best and most impactful players on the team.
“The backlash would be amazing,” a source told the Miami Herald. “Guys would legit revolt.”
The Dolphins are projected to be one of the worst teams in the league this year, however the team has repeatedly denied they are deliberately tanking as they look to rebuild with four first-round draft picks and four second-round picks for the 2020 and 2021 NFL drafts.