Dolphins trade Jay Ajayi to the NFL-leading Eagles for a fourth-round pick
Philadelphia finds a new toy on the day of the trade deadline
Amid expectations of an “aggressive” push before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, the Philadelphia Eagles have traded a fourth-round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for running back Jay Ajayi.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald and ESPN’s Adam Schefter were first to report the news. Philadelphia entered the day in speculated pursuit of pass-blocking help thanks to left tackle Jason Peters‘ move to Injured Reserve, but instead, unofficial general manager Howie Roseman has added another big name to the Eagles’ backfield at the cost of a 2018 mid-round pick. The swap for Ajayi, 24, comes a day after the team was reported to have called the Indianapolis Colts about the availability of veteran back Frank Gore.
The trade also thrusts Ajayi back into Fantasy Football relevance. Our own Dave Richard breaks down what Fantasy owners can expect from Ajayi in Philly, where he’ll likely be a high-touch back and presumably take carries away from the older, less versatile LeGarrette Blount.
SportsLine’s Stephen Oh, meanwhile, projects that with the Eagles, Ajayi will dip from the 13th-ranked running back to the 21st, whereas Miami’s Kenjan Drake will make the big leap from being the No. 68 RB to the No. 26 option. Oh’s season forecast for the Dolphins, however, has Miami’s projected win total dipping ever so slightly — from 6.8 to 6.7 — after the Ajayi move.
Originally a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins in 2015, Ajayi was presumably among those recently criticized by Miami coach Adam Gase, who said after the team’s 40-0 loss on Thursday Night Football that he was “fed up” and “done compromising” with ill-prepared starters. But Ajayi is also just one season removed from a 1,200-yard rushing campaign and offers the Eagles an immediate option at the No. 1 RB spot even with LeGarrette Blount still on Philadelphia’s roster.
ESPN’s Jeff Darlington said on Twitter that the deal may have stemmed from the Dolphins’ belief that Ajayi doesn’t “have much left in his knees” after just two and a half seasons in the NFL.
From the Eagles’ perspective, though, as noted by Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, “there are worse deals than a fourth for a 24-year-old running back,” especially during the same week the rival Dallas Cowboys lost their own star runner, Ezekiel Elliott, to a long-fought six-game suspension.
Through seven games in 2017, Ajayi has gained 465 yards. Unless the Eagles counter their deal with a separate move involving Blount, who leads Philadelphia with a comparable 467 yards on the ground, the former Dolphins starter is expected to usurp either Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement or Kenjon Barner as an alternative to Blount in the backfield.