Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Squash Those Chris Chambers Trade Rumors

Last night, the NFL Network reported the Miami Dolphins were shopping around receiver Chris Chambers for a possible trade. Forget about it. This can't happen. Well, anything is possible. But this would just be foolish. Even though the Dolphins have plenty of holes on their roster, they simply can't afford to give up Chambers right now.

Think about it, this is a team that just lost Wes Welker, the Dolphins' leading receiver a year ago, to the Patriots through free agency. If you get rid of Chambers, all you have left is Marty Booker, Derek Hagan, Ted Ginn along with training camp scrubs P.K. Sam and Kerry Reed. Not exactly a group that strikes fear in the hearts of NFL defensive secondaries. Even with Chambers, the Dolphins receiving corps is below average.

Every year, we all want to believe Chambers can be a great NFL receiver. He teases us with occasional spectacular catches and remarkable athletic ability. In 2005 he caught 82 passes for 1,118 yards and 11 TDs--all career highs. He was rewarded with a trip to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl. But he also led the NFL in dropped passes.

Last year, his numbers dropped dramatically and he finished as only the third most productive receiver on the team behind Welker and Marty Booker. At times he seemed like an invisible man and you forgot he was even on the team.

So who is the real Chris Chambers? Is he the Pro Bowl star from 2005 or the vanishing act of 2006? The answer is somewhere in between. If the Dolphins ever want to be a Super Bowl contender again, Chambers can't be the #1 receiver. He's a very good talent. But he's not enough of a consistant playmaker to fit the role. In fairness to Chris, the Dolphins have never had a good quarterback since he arrived in Miami in 2001 out of Wisconsin.

So where are these trade rumors coming from? There are a number of contributing factors. Some have speculated the emergence of Ted Ginn in training camp has fueled the rumors. Ginn is coming off a solid performance in last Saturday's preseason game against Tampa Bay. But his body of work is simply too skimpy to believe he's ready to be a starting NFL receiver. Some have also speculated Chambers offseason DWI arrest in Charlotte has also been a factor.

Another factor may be if Chambers fits Cam Cameron's offensive system. We've seen it happen many times in the NFL where a new head coach is hired and veterans are released. Cameron obviously wants guys who fit his offensive philopsophy. Just this offseason, the Dolphins released tight end Randy McMichael and defensive tackle Fred Evans. Both McMichael and Evans also had offseason arrests. Is Chris Chambers a Cam Cameron type of player. My gut feeling says no. Why else are these rumors sprouting? But for now, I think it's in Cameron's interest to hold to Chambers until Ginn develops. Because like it or not, tease or no tease, Chambers is the best receiver the Dolphins have.

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