The Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins made a trade involving a Pro Bowl player, just not the one many fans in South Beach had hoped. Houston is trading former Pro Bowl linebacker Benardrick McKinney to Miami for linebacker Shaq Lawson, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. ESPN's Adam Schefter added the deal will also feature a swap of late-round picks.
McKinney, a Pro Bowl linebacker in 2018, played just four games with the Texans last season and was given permission to seek a trade (per Rapoport), with the Tennessee Titans also interested in acquiring him. He is heading into the third year of a five-year, $51 million extension he signed with Houston in 2018 and has a cap number of $7,937,500 this coming season.
Lawson, who signed a three-year, $30 million deal with Miami last season, is owed $9,833,333 in 2021. Per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins structured Lawson's contract to absorb the deal with minimal cap pain -- costing the front office just $2.7 million against the cap to make the trade.
Lawson finished with 32 tackles and four sacks in his first season with the Dolphins, matching a career-high with 18 pressures and recording 14 quarterback knockdowns in 572 snaps. His 25 pressures were three off his career-high of 28 in 2019.
McKinney has three seasons of 100-plus tackles in his career, including back-to-back campaigns in 2018 and 2019. In his Pro Bowl season (2018), McKinney netted 105 tackles as opposing quarterbacks had just an 86.5 passer rating targeting him. McKinney was on his way toward another 100-tackle season in 2020 before having season-ending surgery on his shoulder. Opposing quarterbacks had just a 50.3 passer rating targeting McKinney.
The Texans gained an edge rusher after the release of J.J. Watt while the Dolphins added a valuable linebacker to anchor the middle of their 3-4 defense. Both players are expected have significant roles for their new teams this coming season.