With the 11th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Since he was selected, he has been a three-time First-Team All-Pro, three-time Pro Bowl and led the league in interceptions last season. Fitzpatrick has been a star since he joined the NFL and is continuing to rise.
The only problem is, he’s doing it for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After appearing in 16 games with 11 starts as a rookie for Miami, Fitzpatrick looked set to become the Dolphins’ next defensive star. He was an all-rounder kind of player, able to work deep as a free safety, in the box as a strong safety, wide as a cornerback or even as a cover linebacker. Two games into the 2019 season, Miami sent Fitzpatrick to the Steelers and the safety continued to fulfill potential which led to the Dolphins selecting him 11th overall.
Behind the Steel Curtain’s Dave Schofield recently got a look at the Fitzpatrick trade, and clearly the Steelers came out ahead in the move. We’ll take a look at some of his thoughts on trade, as well as examine them from the dolphins’ perspective.
The commercial details
Minkah Fitzpatrick2020 4th round pick2021 7th round pick
1st round pick 2020 5th round pick 2020 6th round pick 2021
Minkah Fitzpatrick vs. 2020 1st Round Pick (18th – Austin Jackson, OT)
Schofield interrupted his analysis by comparing each of the traded picks, including Fitzpatrick, to the first-round pick sent to Miami. Excerpts from his analysis of this comparison are:
Since joining the Steelers, Minkah Fitzpatrick has been selected as an All-Pro in three of his four seasons. Also, the Steelers have locked up Fitzpatrick for the entire 2026 NFL season…
In his rookie season, Jackson appeared in 13 games with 12 starts but missed part of the season after suffering a foot injury in Week 4 and was placed on the Reserve/Injured List (IR). In 2021, Jackson started 16 of 17 games. In 2022, Jackson sadly suffered an ankle injury in Week 1, where we were placed on IR. After returning and appearing in one more game, Jackson returned to IR to finish the season. At this time, the Dolphins are not expected to pick up Jackson’s fifth-year option.
Jackson has potential and could be a solid offensive lineman for the Dolphins for a long time. He’s a fair tackle, but with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, that’s the downside of the Dolphins offense, meaning Miami may have added the key piece to their offensive line with the pick. That said, Jackson is still a “potential” player while Fitzpatrick is an elite player in his prime. Clearly the Steelers are ahead in the trade here.
2020 4th Round Pick (135th – Kevin Dotson, G) vs. 2020 5th Round Pick (154th – Jason Strowbridge, DE)
About these two choices, Schofield wrote:
The Steelers selected Kevin Dotson who started 30 games for the Steelers over three seasons. More importantly, Dotson started every game and played every snap of 2022 at left guard.
Strawbridge played in eight games for the Dolphins in 2020, where he saw 55 snaps defensively along with 12 snaps on special teams and three total tackles. Strawbridge did not make the 53-man Dolphin roster in 2021, but was originally signed to the practice squad. Unfortunately, Strawbridge was released before Week 1 of the 2021 season and hasn’t made an NFL roster since.
Clearly, the Steelers maintain the edge here. Dotson is a starter for the Steelers, while Strowbridge had a cup of coffee before his NFL career came to an apparent end.
2021 7th Round Pick (245th – Tre Norwood, S) vs. 2021 6th round pick (traded to Kansas City Chiefs)
The Steelers drafted safety Tre Norwood who, in two seasons, appeared in 32 games with six starts. Norwood has 61 tackles and one interception in his career, although he missed the last two games of the 2022 season with an injury.
The Miami Dolphins eventually traded the Steelers’ sixth round pick. The Dolphins traded the pick to the Kansas City Chiefs who then traded the pick to the New York Jets … As for how things went for the Miami Dolphins with the additional trade, they got running back DeAndre Washington, who he appeared in just three games in 2021 before being released and received a seventh-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. That draft pick, along with former New York Giants’ 2015 first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers, were sent to the Washington Football Team. In return, the Dolphins received a higher seventh round draft pick in which they selected running back Gerrid Doaks who was not on the 53-man roster and has yet to appear in an NFL game.
The Steelers have a player who is making appearances and participating. The Dolphins used the pick to make a couple of moves, but ended up with Doaks who, worked the practice squad for Miami in 2021, then was a practice squad player for the Houston Texans through much of 2022. He signed to a futures contract with Houston for the next year.
Comments from BTSC community members
Several members of the Behind the Steel Curtain community also commented on the exchange:
Picking the player equation for this trade is clearly a home run, there’s no way to argue with that. The only doubt I had at the time was that racking up 2 2018 1st rounders would screw up the contract/cap cycle and lead to the Steelers losing a quality player when the space to keep them came a year late. Since the players in question were Edmunds, Bush and Claypool, it went as smoothly as possible.
I disagree with all of you and the author.
The Steelers were sucking that season with Ben out and relying on the tag team of Mason and Duck at QB.
Without Fitz, we probably would have lost more games, which in turn would have propelled us higher up the draft order.
I personally would have liked the Steelers to aggressively trade to get Justin Herbert.
Mistaking for Fitz, Colbert played checkers instead of chess.
This Island Earth
Many people here were complaining that they had given up on an earlier one. Many of those same folks would have probably screamed for a DB to be taken if we kept the pick. You really can’t do better than trading a 1st for a future HOFer who is early in his career.
Your Blitz is showing
It certainly turned out to be a blessed transaction for us.
I didn’t think any discussion beyond “we have Hall Of Fame caliber security” was needed, but I guess, in some ways, we did even better when you break it down further.
Take a bow, Mr. Colbert. And thanks.
Man, I actually freaked out and my heart rate literally (not an exaggerated metaphorical use of the word) changed for a few beats, because I thought for a moment we swapped Minkah and all I thought was NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…. ….. ……………………………………… ….. …….oh nevermind, it’s about the trade that brought him here.
Nogle’s final thoughts
I feel the BTSC comments basically cover how this trade worked out for the Dolphins. The Steelers crushed him with this move. The Dolphins were forced to trade Fitzpatrick as the relationship between the player and the team, particularly then-head coach Brian Flores, deteriorated. Fitzpatrick did not want to be used because the Dolphins intended to use him, and he had made known his displeasure with him. Flores didn’t seem to like players who had strong personalities when he arrived in Miami, and Fitzpatrick became expendable for some reason.
As Schofield wrote at the end of the article, on the Steelers’ side of this deal, “Here’s how it’s done.”
The Dolphins have had incredible trades, especially when you look at the trade of Flores-era Laremy Tunsil who is still paying dividends to the team, but this was clearly a loss for Miami.