Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Aug 2012

Dolphins Deal Vontae Davis to Colts

OK, so, this is apparently what Jim Irsay has been babbling about on Twitter the last few days. The Colts have sent a second-round pick and a conditional late-round pick to Miami for cornerback Vontae Davis, who had lost his starting job to Richard Marshall. Last year, Davis was 21st in adjusted success rate but 54th in yards allowed per pass, so he was pretty good overall but did get burned sometimes. I've talked a lot in the past about top cornerbacks often not fully developing until year four, and Davis is entering year four. On the other hand, if the Colts do what we expect this season, that second-round pick they sent to Miami is going to be somewhere around No. 40. That's a pretty darn good pick.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Aug 2012

25 comments, Last at 29 Aug 2012, 11:31am by chemical burn


by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 4:33pm

Compared to a 7th for Samuel?

This seems like a big price for a guy who couldn't hang on to his starting job (even if the Miami pass defense was fairly good).

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 5:17pm

Bit apples to oranges. Davis is a lot younger and a lot cheaper.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 8:39pm

Also, he is a rotten gross apple and Samuel is one of the best oranges you can find. So, there's that.

by Dean :: Tue, 08/28/2012 - 4:02pm

Funny, I was reading that and expected you to say that Davis was the good orange.

by chemical burn :: Wed, 08/29/2012 - 11:31am

Oh, I love Samuel. I think essentially making an Asomugha for Samuel switch is the worst decision made in Reid's tenure. After watching him play, I have come to the conclusion that Asomugha might be the most over-rated player in the history of the game. If he's better than DRC, I don't see it. He has the worst ball-skills of any highly-regarded CB in the league and teams can throw on him quite easily - he looks worse than Joselio Hanson most games. He's gotten embarrassed multiple times in Philly, most notably Victor Cruz taking his lunch and slapping him in front of his kids.

Samuel made receivers disappear and if a pass could be intercepted, he would get a hand on it and would frequently take it to the house. It is hard to imagine Asomugha even catching passes right in his hands with any consistency and I can't even imagine what it would look like for him to take one back. Asomugha is also the same age and more expensive. Just a botch job like I haven't seen in Philly in a decade. It's one of the few times they've paid for a reputation and gotten totally burned. Even Jevon Kearse would have double-digit sacks and his wild-card role in the 2004 season playoffs basically won them the games versus Minny and Atlanta...

by JasonK :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 4:53pm

So, a (likely high) 2nd rounder for the right to employ pay Vontae Davis a little more than $2M over the next 2 seasons (followed by an option to tag). That's pretty surely less than he's worth in salary, so I can see how there was interest in the trade. But it's tough to see how the Colts are a particularly good match, given where they are in the rebuilding process.

Between Davis, Marshall, and Chad Whateverhisnameis, the Dolphins management certainly hasn't been at all hesitant in getting rid of guys who have caused (or will likely cause) problems for Philbin and his staff.

by Purds :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 7:28pm

Do you mean they should be focusing on offense in rebuilding? I mean, a 24-year-old seems perfect for a team rebuilding. I don't know if he's any good, so I can't comment on the trade value, but getting a young CB is exactly what Indy needs, if trying to compete.

by JasonK :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 8:11pm

Well, they could spend a 2nd-round pick and get a 24-year-old CB for 2 seasons at a low salary cost, at which point they'll have to pay the market price to retain his services further. Alternately, they could sit tight for 2 years, use that 2nd round pick on whoever they feel best, and then pay the market price to sign a 26-year-old CB.

This move makes them better for 2012 and 2013, and worse for 2014 onward.

by Purds :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 8:52pm

I hate to say it, but 2014 is a long time in football terms. I know it's only three seasons, but think back three seasons to 2009: the Colts were in the Super Bowl with an almost completely different roster: QB, RB, TE #1, WR #2, entire OL, DT's, all LB's, 3 of the DB's, coach, GM. The only guys still there are Wayne, Freeney, Mathis and Powers.

I can hear what you're saying, but there is no guarantee that the 2nd round pick will be great. Many talk about BB's gret stockpiling of picks, but look at his 2009 early 2nd rounders: Patrick Chung, #34 overall. Ron Brace, #40. Darius Butler #41. At most, you have one hit in three, if you think Chung is solid (I do).

by Whatev :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 6:50am

Also, the trouble is that Colts fans are used to winning, even if the team was actually being held together by Peyton Manning and baling wire. The management may feel they need to cushion the pain of the short term in order to make it to the long term.

by Purds :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 12:31pm

Well, I also think the Colts last year were doomed by such terrible QB play, that everything fell apart eventually. I mean, even if Luck is average, it would be a huge upgrade this year for the team. There were games last year when they had no chance, as Painter and Co. were not able to generate any first downs, and there were games when a good QB could have won late, but not those guys.

I guess my point is this: if you get good QB play, you always have a chance. The Colts feel they have a good QB, and while they don't expect SB appearances right now, they do think they can win games. CB was a huge gap for them. If Davis can be an average to above average CB for them for two years, it will be a good trade. Do remember that the pick is for next year, and so if you hold onto it this year, you need to start someone like Rucker (cut) or the like. And, you have to play the games this year, not wait until all your future drafts come to fruition. Everyone marvels at the teams that accumulate picks, and NE is the best easy example, but unless you pick well, it doesn't really matter how many you have.

by turbohappy (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 11:20am

There's about 6 other guys still around from that team, but point made :o)

by Karl Cuba :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 7:25pm

Sending a 2nd round pick for a Vontae Davis type player might be worthwhile for a team with a chance to win. It's not a great idea for the Colts.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 8:19am

I don't know. Based on the blurb above, he sounds like a player who has demonstrated the ability to be a starting CB in the NFL, but not a superstar. He's also still young. If that player was available in the draft, he probably wouldn't last much past pick #40, in my opinion.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 8:27am

He is a cornerbacking version of his brother, a very good size speed athlete that isn't what you would hope for in the mental or technical aspects of the game and also doesn't have great hands. He could become a good corner but it took an ass-whooping from Mike Singletary to get Vernon's head sorted out, it could be that Vontae could need the same treatment before he reaches his potential (it was about the only thing Singletary did right with the niners).

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 9:12am

This. Very talented player who hasn't put it all together, he got into Philbin's doghouse fast, lost his starting job, apparently didn't respond well to that, and now got himself shipped out of town.

It's a somewhat risky move for the Colts, but really, Vontae hasn't been that bad as he is -as a player or teammate- and whenever a talented young vet like him becomes available, somebody's gonna pounce.

I would've preferred Vontae to start for the Dolphins, but seeing as they had made up their minds he was the #3 CB, this is not a bad deal for Miami.

We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 8:40am

Maybe not, but drafting that player would give you four years of below market play from him, not two. Unless the Colts believe he will develop into a star and therefore provide surplus value in his next contract as well, it's hard to see this as a good move.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 11:36am

Depends on what value you place on a 2nd round pick, at a time before you know what place it'll be in the order, or who will be available in the draft. Personally, I look at it as a lottery ticket that has, maybe, a 50% chance of turning into a quality starter by year 4.

P-F-R lists Vontae Davis as having a Career AV of 16. Of the 2nd rounders taken in 2009 (the year Davis was drafted), 24 of 32 have a Career AV less than Davis' 16. 12 have an AV under 5, 11 have 0 seasons as a primary starter, and 3 are already out of the league. Tells me that, while you'll get more years on the rookie contract by just staying put and drafting somebody, there's a considerable chance that the player you get isn't going to be very good. This is not a scientific measure by any means, but it confirms that a 2nd round pick is a gamble. There's no guarantee that you'll get a good player at below market value; you're just as likely to get a bench scrub making above market value.

by Nathan :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 8:52pm

Isray is an embarrassment to the league.

by Purds :: Sun, 08/26/2012 - 9:18pm

Yup. The advent of social media was not a boon for his pr profile. Seemed okay before he had a direct line to the public.

by themarkslack (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 9:41am

As a Colts fan I like Jim Irsay. His main attribute is that he knows that he's generally supposed to stay out of the way and let the football people do what he hired them for. I feel like he's pretty much a fan like the rest of us - kinda nuts sometimes, but generally just a guy who's excited about the stuff that his GM is probably doing. Of all the people/things that are an actual embarrassment to the league, I feel like Irsay is pretty low on the list.

by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 10:23am

Irsay with twitter is a polarizing figure. Some love it and some hate it. As a Colts fan, I love it. He's a breath of fresh air compared to the stuffed shirts that own most teams. Reminds me of Mark Cuban - deeply passionate about his team and not afraid to speak his mind. Carry-on Jimmy!

by Nathan :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 10:39am

His tweets read like comments on ESPN articles. If that's your thing... cool I guess. I find them embarrassing.

by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 11:01am

Davis trick seems to be that he plays great when you push the right button. Last season he wasn't playing well, the team suspended him for a game and came back with a chip on his shoulder. This preseason the team was trying to light a fire under him by displacing him on the depth chart. Ultimately the Dolphins didn't think the 24 year old was going to mature into an adult that would play every game, every down. Sometimes guys need to be cut/traded once or twice before they realize the need to be a hard worker 24/7 to stay in the NFL. A lot of guys never get it.

by Theo :: Mon, 08/27/2012 - 11:46am

I wonder how much we see of this on Hard Knocks.