In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Ashton Leber asked our panel of three experts — Miguel Gonzalez, Tom Ballard and Michael Battista — three questions: Did the Miami Dolphins make a good trade with running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles? Did the Houston Astros deserve to win the World Series? Does Colin Kaepernick have a good case to file a collusion lawsuit against the NFL?
1. Did the Miami Dolphins make a good trade with running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles?
Miguel: The Eagles are getting a bigger bargain deal than a purchase on Amazon during Cyber Monday. The Miami Dolphins were obviously higher than their former offensive line coach Chris Foerster after a tough game. The team only got a fourth round pick! The trade was worse than the infamous Herschel Walker trade between the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. Ajayi is a young and upcoming player who’s only going to improve. He will make the Philadelphia Eagles into a Super Bowl contender. When the Patriots traded quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers, they got a better offer with a second round pick. On top of that, the San Francisco 49ers released quarterback Brian Hoyer, who immediately signed to the Patriots.
Tom: Ultimately, it’s going to come down to how things look on the field. In the meantime, the Miami Dolphins might have made a bit of a slip up with this trade. It’s been well-noted that Dolphins head coach Adam Gase has been discontented with a number of his players in the locker room over not fulfilling their expectations. Ajayi was probably on the top of the list. Ajayi’s knee problems can also be seen as a liability for the team. But in the end, Ajayi’s stats make him a valuable player. Now that he’s with Philly, no one may be able to stop the Eagles rushing offense. Ajayi’s Pro Bowl background as the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher last season will send the Eagles soaring down the field while the Dolphins keep floundering behind. The fourth-round draft pick wasn’t worth it but Gase got his point across that his word is law in the locker room.
Michael: The Dolphins are the losers here and this move signals the team has little hope the remainder of the season. Even when Ajayi was with them, the team was last in the NFL in yards per game with 252.4 and points per game with 14.1. Even in the position he contributes to, Miami was second to last in rush yards per game with 76.4. This may be helpful in the future with a young draft pick, but when you have a 24-year-old stud that’s only in his third year and coming off a 2016 season with 1,272 yards, it makes me question how the Dolphins could use young talented players effectively. Then again this is the team that thought bringing Jay Cutler back from the press box was a good idea, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.
Tom gets 3 points for mentioning Gase’s relationship with players. Miguel gets 2 points for bringing up Walker’s trade. Michael gets 1 point for not reading between the numbers.
2. Did the Houston Astros deserve to win the World Series?
Miguel: Even though the Houston Astros defeated my beloved New York Yankees in the ALCS, there is no doubt that they are the current kings of baseball. The Astros had to overcome much adversity on top of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation on Houston. During this year’s MLB playoffs, they proved that money doesn’t necessarily bring in victories (unless you’re the 2009 Yankees). The Astros had a team payroll of $137 million, which ranked 17th out of the league’s 30 teams, according to Forbes. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox, Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers all ranked within the top three team payrolls in the MLB. In fact, the Dodgers had team payroll of $242 million. With that type of budget, how could you not win the World Series? (An ironic statement coming from a Yankees fan). The Astros can also thank Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish for his clutch performance in game seven.
Tom: I love a good underdog story and Houston proved to be the fairytale dream come true. I think what is most admirable about the Astros’ World Series win is that it was a victory years in the making. The Astros had good team management, juxtaposed with smart strategy, making this win possible. By making moves such as signing relief pitcher Tony Sipp for a three-year contract before the 2016 season and trading for pitcher Mike Fiers back in 2015 were just some of the steps that bolstered the Astros. Let’s not forget that Houston was struggling for a break after many frustrating seasons. I think the team was able to learn from their mistakes and team manager A.J. Hinch has been able to put together a young, energetic team that will shine in the future.
Michael: I mean… they won the 11 games that they needed to win. Doesn’t that mean they deserved it? During the regular season, Houston had the best record in baseball for a large chunk of the season. Even though they lost that honor later on, they still played incredible baseball throughout. The Astros went 8-2 in their last 10 games while other teams limped into the playoffs. There is another reason they deserve the commissioner’s trophy though. With everything that Houston gone through with Hurricane Harvey, the Astros’ first ever Championship win is a nice distraction from what may be a rough living. Like when Japan won the Women’s World Cup in 2011 months after enduring a tsunami and an earthquake, sports can help lift people’s spirits during rough times.
Miguel gets 3 points for discussing payroll. Tom gets 2 points for highlighting the Astros management. Michael gets 1 point for mentioning that sports boost people’s spirits.
3. Does Colin Kaepernick have a good case to file a collusion lawsuit against the NFL?
Miguel: Yo Colin, you got to stop with this nonsense. Kaepernick has done more than enough to spread his message across the NFL. He has to understand that the NFL is a business. It’s not like commissioner Roger Goodell is trying to undermine his reputation. The reason why no team wants to sign Kaepernick is because he has become a liability, not an asset. Wherever Kaepernick goes, a media circus travels around just waiting to see what reaction he’ll get from fans and owners. News organizations like CNN, NBC, FOX News and ESPN love spinning a story of politics and sports with Kaepernick. While I’m glad that Kaepernick has made the NFL more conscious of social and political issues, he isn’t the quarterback that once led the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII. No team owner wants to deal with such a distraction for a chance to see if Kaepernick is still a good quarterback.
Tom: Given the public attention that Kaepernick has received and the severe backlash he’s faced from a number of NFL owners, I think he has a very solid case going into this collusion lawsuit against the NFL. The deposition and record requests from figures such as Patriots owner Robert Kraft, 49ers owner Jed York and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have shown substantial hostility against Kaepernick for his protests during pre-game ceremonies. This also poses the first real headache for the NFL in the Kaepernick saga. Prior to this, the league was able to pass the tension off as being a team’s concern, but these requests will require the NFL to put together a bulletproof case and put the money and resources to advocate on its behalf. But as it’s looking now, the NFL is going to have to make a Hail Mary in court if they have any chance to leave this untarnished.
Michael: No he doesn’t. This seems like a situation where every person can think something is happening, but there is no smoking gun for Kaepernick to fall back on. Unless he finds a text chain from Roger Goodell to every NFL owner saying “Don’t hire this man,” it’ll be very hard for his team to prove there is collusion. Fans can say, “Oh, but why would Miami take Jay Cutler over him then?” The collusion doesn’t matter unless it’s proven he wasn’t signed. At the end of the day, owners and teams can do what they please and it’s hard to say what their motives are.
Miguel gets 3 points for mentioning cable news. Tom gets 2 points for bringing up other prominent NFL owners. Michael gets 1 point for referencing Roger Goodell.
Miguel wins ATD 8-7-3
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”