On the heels of another young defensive stud requesting a trade, Minkah Fitzpatrick has had his wish granted.
The Miami Dolphins safety is being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with a 2020 fourth-round pick and a 2021 seventh-round pick, in exchange for a first- and fifth-round pick in 2020 and 2021 sixth-round pick, sources told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
The deal comes three days after the Fins granted Fitzpatrick and agent Joel Segal permission to seek a trade. Fitzpatrick joins Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills on a growing list of talented, young players that Miami has parted ways with in recent months in an effort to rebuild for the future.
Upon the completion of the trade, Miami will possess five first-round picks over the next two NFL drafts: two of their own, two from the Texans (in the Tunsil/Stills deal) and, now, one from Pittsburgh.
Symptoms of the deteriorating relationship between Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins had been evident over the last couple months, dating back to mid-August during training camp when Fitzpatrick and his mother publicly commented on how the 2018 11th overall pick was being utilized.
“She’s not wrong,” Fitzpatrick said after his mother stated on Twitter that her son was being used to suit others’ skill sets. “Coach has asked me do something right now. I got to do what they ask me to do. If we have to have some discussions in the future, we’ll have those discussions.”
The versatility Fitzpatrick showcased in his three years at Alabama made him a tantalizing prospect worthy of a high selection, but he expressed during camp that he didn’t feel playing in the box best fit his talents. Head coach Brian Flores and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham seemed uninterested in changing up the gameplan.
Fast forward to the season opener against the Ravens and Fitzpatrick, who spent his rookie year playing safety, his natural position, and slot corner, was featured in several different roles in the Fins’ blowout loss to the Ravens.
In Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick will join a group that already features seven first-rounders, including linebacker T.J. Watt, cornerback Joe Haden and fellow 2018 first-round pick safety Terrell Edmunds.
The big-time potential for Fitzpatrick to excel on a team known for its strong defenses is undeniable. He was one of seven rookies last year with 80-plus total tackles and two-plus interceptions, per NFL Research. Through the first two games of 2019, he has recorded 11 tackles and one forced fumble.