Minkah Fitzpatrick has thoughts on whether or not the Dolphins are actually tanking in 2019

Minkah Fitzpatrick, for various reasons, wanted a trade out of Miami a week into his second season with the team. The Dolphins -- who have been accused of tanking to get the first overall pick -- granted Fitzpatrick his request, trading him to the Steelers along with a fourth-round pick in exchange for Pittsburgh's first-round pick and a fifth-rounder in the 2020 draft.

Fitzpatrick, who has played up to his first-round status since joining the Steelers while helping Pittsburgh get back into the AFC playoff conversation, recently spoke about the culture that exists within the Dolphins' organization during an appearance on ESPN's "Golic and Wingo." Along with trading Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins -- who lost their first seven games before getting their first victory at home last Sunday over the Jets -- also traded away offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills for two future first round picks and a 2021 second-round pick. Last week, Miami traded running back Kenyan Drake to the Cardinals for a conditional pick in the 2020 draft. 

"Personally, it was hard for me to focus on the next year when I'm playing this season," said Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins' 2018 first round pick who had two interceptions against his former team when the Steelers beat the Dolphins in Week 8. "And that was everybody that was there. We're professional athletes … so, you can't tell us to focus on the future; we're gonna focus on the game that's at hand. 

"They weren't asking us to focus on the future, but some of the moves that they made made us a little doubtful and kinda upset us a little bit. But as professional athletes, as [the] competitive nature of men, our focus was on the game at hand. Our coaches emphasized that and told us that day after day, so we were just taking it one day at a time, trying to prepare to put ourselves in the best position." 

Fitzpatrick's quotes reinforce the outside belief that, while the Dolphins players and coaches are trying to win, Miami's front office is putting more emphasis on winning in the future. That was certainly one of the reasons why Fitzpatrick, who also reportedly wasn't fond of how he was being used within the Dolphins' defense, wanted to have a fresh start with a new NFL team

Some think that the Dolphins are trying to "Tank for Tua," Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who will likely be the first player picked in this year's draft. While winning games hurts their chances at landing the first-overall pick (the Dolphins would own the fourth overall pick in the draft was today), Miami could use its bounty of high draft picks to trade into the first overall pick. The Bengals, the only remaining winless team, may be the Dolphins' biggest threat to draft Tagovailoa if rookie quarterback Ryan Finley -- who will make his first career start this Sunday at home against the Ravens -- can't convince head coach Zac Taylor that he can be "the guy" going forward. 

While Miami continues to make due with its present while continuing to focus on the future, the Steelers, to a man, are happy to have Fitzpatrick, who has been one of the main reasons for Pittsburgh's recent turnaround. 

"I can say he's been a great addition," Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward said, via Ed Bouchette of The Athletic. "He's been very opportunistic, not a guy who is out of the play or out of the scheme. He's just responsible. He loves football, and he's going to make sure he's good at it to help the team.

"We were already banged up with Sean Davis going down, and for him to step in, I told (Steelers GM) Kevin (Colbert) when we were on the field at San Francisco, 'Thank you because that dude came in and brought a whole lot with him and we needed every bit of it.'"

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