Minkah Fitzpatrick trade grades: Steelers take a risk after Big Ben injury; Dolphins continue to stockpile first-rounders
Dolphins have another first round pick as Fitzpatrick heads to Pittsburgh
It's been a rollercoaster beginning of the week for the Steelers.
After falling to 0-2 on the season at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Pittsburgh learned that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would need to undergo season-ending elbow surgery. As Big Ben heads out the door and onto injured reserve, in comes safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who they acquired in a trade with the Dolphins.
For Fitzpatrick, he's getting his wish to beafter requesting a trade in the midst of their uninspiring 0-2 start.
With the deal now in the books, here are the grades for each team.
2020 fourth round pick, 2021 seventh round pick
2020 first round pick, 2020 fifth round pick, 2021 sixth round pick
Pittsburgh trade grade: B+
There's a lot to like about Minkah Fitzpatrick. He's just 22-years-old, a really versatile defensive back and has a great contract. He has a cap hit of just $1.08 million in 2019, $1.95 million in 2020 and $2.7 million in 2021. Pittsburgh's secondary also desperately needs someone who can work as a slot corner and it appears like Fitzpatrick has the tools to do just that. From a player acquisition standpoint, this is a solid (and much needed) match for the Steelers.
The thing that doesn't get this trade up into the A-range is the injury to Ben Roethlisberger and the compensation it took to get Fitzpatrick. The fact that he's out for the year opens up the possibility for that 2020 first rounder to be pretty high, maybe in the range of some of the elite quarterbacks that are going to be available this spring. If Mason Rudolph proves he doesn't have what it takes to make it in the NFL, the Steelers may wish they had the ability to at least think of bringing in one of those elite prospects.
That said, Roethlisberger did say in a statement on Monday that he is committed to the Steelers over the course of his contract. The question there becomes what will he look like following this elbow surgery.
That's the risk the Steelers are taking. They're getting a great player for the here and now and long-term in Fitzpatrick, while rolling the dice on what could be an interesting 2020 first rounder.
As for the rest of the compensation from Pittsburgh's standpoint, that getting a 2020 fourth rounder is quite the coup along with Fitzpatrick.
Miami trade grade: A
The Dolphins held out for a first rounder and they got it. Now, Miami is set up as good as any team for the 2020 NFL Draft, owning three first round selections. Of course, their own pick will likely be the highest of the bunch, but, because of that Big Ben injury, this Steelers first rounder could be high too. The fact that they also have Houston's first is just the cherry on top.
As for letting Fitzpatrick go, it's tough to see talent like that walk out the door, but, if he doesn't want to be there, there's not much the Dolphins can do about it. They made the best of the situation for themselves as an organization.
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