Overreaction Monday: Jay Ajayi Trade a Mistake?
We all knew this topic would be coming back! Ever since Jay Ajayi was traded to the Eagles for a 4th round pick, Miami fans have been arguing with themselves about if it was worth the trade. The overreaction is that Adam Gase made a stupid move to trade Ajayi. Arguments have also been made about Gase not being able to find away to use Ajayi and Drake or that Gase can’t handle difficult players. Then Kenyan Drake exploded onto the scene and pacified Dolphin fans with his ability to create plays from nothing and explode through small running lanes. Drake showed great ability in pass protection and catching the football. Everything was good with the Ajayi trade until…. the NFC Conference Championship game last night.
The Eagles entered the game as an underdog to the Vikings, who had the #1 defense in the NFL. Nick Foles softened that defense up by completing 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards and 3 TDs. Ajayi had a couple of runs to keep drives alive, but he wasn’t the focal point of the offense. Ajayi had an decent game with 18 carries for 73 yards. That’s not exactly the type of game that should make fans miss a player, but emotions run high and the lack of winning has worn on the fans.
That leads to the overreaction and readdressing the question, was the Jay Ajayi trade a mistake?
The answer is simple, NO! Look, I get it, Ajayi had three monster games last year for the Dolphins, (200 twice Buff, 200 Pitt), but it was time for the Dolphins to move on from Ajayi. That’s right, it was time for the Dolphins to move on.
Jay Ajayi didn’t exactly light the world on fire when he went to Philly. Before the trade, Ajayi rushed for 465 yards on 138 carries and no touchdowns. Far from his 2016 season for sure, but he did fair much better with the Eagles. He rushed for 408 yards on 70 carries, leading to a solid 5.8 yards per carry. Yes he did rush for more yards on less carries, but when I break those numbers down, they look less impressive.
First, let’s look at Ajayi’s two best games as an Eagle:
Denver 8 carries 77 yards and 1 touchdown. Not a bad game, with an average of 9.6 yards per carry. However, take his long run (46 yards) away, and his game was less impressive. 7 carries for 31 yards. 4.4 yards per carry, decent, but nothing special.
@Dallas 7 carries for 91 yards. Other than Dallas being an unimpressive rushing defense, Ajayi’s game was nothing special. He averaged 13 yards per carry, but he had a long of 71. leaving him with 6 carries for 20 yards. Not exactly setting the world on fire here.
Overall, Ajayi has had a couple of big plays with the Eagles, which was very reminiscent to his time with the Dolphins. He was always showing flashes, and then disappeared for a few games.
So if the trade was not a mistake, than who won the trade?
This question was asked to me earlier today, and it makes no sense. There is a false premise that there is a winner and loser in every trade. Much like somebody buying a car, they want to feel like they got the better of the deal. In reality, most of the time both parties got what they wanted out of the deal. Sure some times people get screwed, but most times, it works out for everybody.
The same can be said about the Ajayi trade. The Eagles needed a starting running back to team with Corey Clement and LeGarrette Blount. The Dolphins were having an issue with Ajayi not fitting in with what they wanted to do on offense. Keep in mind, Ajayi was drafted in the 5th round and was traded away for a 4th round pick 3 years later, that is a return on investment for sure.
So no, the trade was not a mistake and both the Eagles and Dolphins got good value for what they wanted. Eagles got a starting running back and Miami got a pick for a running back that didn’t fit their style.