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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    DAN LE BATARD

    dlebatard@herald.com


    JACKSONVILLE -- Should the Dolphins trade Patrick Surtain for Edgerrin James?

    ''In a minute,'' says Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.

    ''That's a trade Miami should make,'' says Chiefs running back Priest Holmes.

    Hard as it is to swap stars and salaries in football, this trade makes a lot of sense for both sides. Surtain, Miami's best player, has received permission to seek a trade, and defenseless Indianapolis badly needs a cornerback. James badly wants to be in Miami, and the Dolphins could use an offensive centerpiece who has already led the league in rushing twice and finished fourth this season.

    Surtain and James both are top five in the world at their positions, and in their primes. Trading them for each other would be exactly like the Clinton-Portis-for-Champ-Bailey trade the Broncos and Redskins made last offseason. ''This is where I'm from,'' James says by cellphone, standing in front of his grandmother's house in Immokalee. ``I love where I'm from.''

    A laugh.

    ''And I'm unemployed,'' he says.

    The Colts are about to have a very angry running back on their hands. James will sit out for an awfully long time if, as expected, the Colts franchise him with a one-year, $8 million offer after giving so much long-term money to Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. The Colts know how money-motivated James is, and how upset he will be, but they are limited financially and have a lot of defensive holes that couldn't be disguised even with all of Manning's record-breaking last season. That opens up the possibility of trading James to a team that could promise a long-term extension.

    PROVEN TRACK RECORD

    Hard to say how interested cap-bloated Miami would be in a high-salary player given that new coach Nick Saban is a Bill Belichick disciple, and Belichick doesn't believe in giving any one player too much cash. But Saban did say finding a new running back is a priority. And there isn't a better one available anywhere than James. You aren't going to draft anyone as good, proven or immediately helpful as James would be.

    ''Wherever I end up, they're going to have a player who will produce,'' James says.

    ``But I'm really clueless right now. I'm just floating around. But there's no way to knock my game. I can play ball. I can do it all. I've got game.''

    You are going to have to read between the lines here. James has a condo in Key Biscayne. He flies to South Florida on off days during the season to do things such as watch his cousin's high school football games. One of his best friends is Miami rapper Trick Daddy. James still donates tons of money to the University of Miami. James can't come out and say how badly wants to be in the city where he played his college football because the Colts are about to offer some kind of contract, and he doesn't want to upset the process. But, rest assured, going back to Indianapolis is not his preference if it is for the franchise tag. He has already wrecked a knee once giving his body to this team. He doesn't want it to happen again at 27 with a contract that offers no guarantees.

    But he isn't going to come cheap, no matter how much he would like to come home.

    ''I want to be compensated,'' he says.

    No hometown discounts?

    ''I've never heard of a discount,'' James says.

    This, after all, is a player who once ignored coach Jim Mora's edict that he kneel on the ball to end a won game because he had contract incentives that paid him for yards and touchdowns. And he offered no apologies for it, saying afterward that he heard a cash register ringing all the way toward the end zone. So he can hear the echo of that register now, too, as he heads toward his second big contract, wherever it is. James says his greatest fear is being broke, and he jokes that his family members and friends get into so much trouble that he ought to open a bail bondsmen business. The Colts have asked him several times to change his friends -- he has crack addicts spot for him in his after-midnight workouts in Immokalee -- but James ignores them.

    DEALING WITH DEPTH

    ''I put my foot down pretty well,'' he says. And he adds, ``You don't see me out there getting into trouble.''

    Surtain is Miami's best player, and cover cornerbacks are harder to find than running backs, but no one is indispensable on a 4-12 team. And cornerback is Miami's deepest position.

    If Terrell Owens, Marshall Faulk and Corey Dillon are only worth second-round picks, as they were in their primes to the teams that traded them, you aren't getting much better than that in exchange for Surtain. And if Saban is willing to allow Surtain to shop for a new employer, as he is, what would you rather have?

    A second-round pick?

    Or one of the best running backs in the world?

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  2. #2
    Chrisbob Guest

    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    -- Surtain Could Remain a Dolphin --
    Wed Feb 9, 2005 --from FFMastermind.com

    The Sun Sentinel reports Dolphins GM Rick Spielman said it was possible that CB Patrick Surtain may remain with the Dolphins in 2005 despite the franchise recently giving him permission to seek a trade. "We'll just see what develops between now and if we trade him or not," Spielman said. "We're never going to say never on any of our players. I've been in this business long enough to know things work out one way or another, so you never shut the door on anything." Regardless of whether the Dolphins work a trade for Surtain, he wouldn't be able to return with his current 2005 salary-cap figure of $8.4 million. The Dolphins need to trim at least $17 million off their cap by March 2 to reach the NFL maximum of $85.5 million.

  3. #3
    DJRamFan Guest

    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    I think it would be a good trade for everyone. It will be a very tough deal to make because James would have to be franchised and all the other details would take a long time to get hashed out.

  4. #4
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    I'd be interested to see the contract James would work out with Miami if he was indeed traded to the Dolphins.
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  5. #5
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    I'd be interested to see the contract James would work out with Miami if he was indeed traded to the Dolphins.
    I thought James was a UFA? Guess I'm wrong.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  6. #6
    Chrisbob Guest

    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    I thought James was a UFA? Guess I'm wrong.
    Colts will likely franchise him.

  7. #7
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    And the Dolphins are over the cap, so they can't exactly take on a huge contract.
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  8. #8
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    Keep Surtain?spelling) and get C Benson in the draft!James isn't that great on grass! In fact james is good to his surroundings......What really has Miami got to offer............They got no QB. Peyton has helped James quite a bit! :redface:

  9. #9
    DJRamFan Guest

    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    Quote Originally Posted by theodus69
    Keep Surtain?spelling) and get C Benson in the draft!James isn't that great on grass! In fact james is good to his surroundings......What really has Miami got to offer............They got no QB. Peyton has helped James quite a bit! :redface:
    That would be the best idea. I bet James would take a little less than street value to go to his hometown team. Miami shouldn't begin dismantling their defense to save the offense.

  10. #10
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    They're already over the cap though, so they have to make some moves. If Surtain can't work out another deal that's going to save some cap space, he's going to be moved regardless.
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  11. #11
    theodus69 Guest

    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    Well I can't get a bit of info on the Warner to Miami thing, so if he does go, James might be a great fit!But C.Benson in the draft, He's the real deal I think! Then again I can't say he's the real deal when I don't know how well he catches the Ball!

  12. #12
    Chrisbob Guest

    Re: Dealing James for Surtain makes sense

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    They're already over the cap though, so they have to make some moves. If Surtain can't work out another deal that's going to save some cap space, he's going to be moved regardless.
    They are over the cap but can free up $19M in room by releasing Jay Fieldler, David Boston, Junior Seau and reworking Chris Chambers contract.

    Add in the big savings if Surtain goes and they have the cap room to make it happen. Long term deals tend to be cap friendly in the early years.

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