Vontae Davis against the Patriots in 2011.
Today, one of the best defensive backs in the AFC East has been traded from the division, as the Miami Dolphins have traded cornerback Vontae Davis to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2013 second round pick and a conditional late round draft choice.
Patriots fans and players will undoubtedly be relieved to have Davis, who has given the Patriots fits over the years, out of the division. As for the Dolphins, they have reportedly been impressed with third year defensive back Nolan Carroll, hence the trade of Davis. Kevin Nogle of the Phinsider writes:
Of course, fans are going to react with ire to this, because Carroll has struggled at times during his career with the Dolphins. But, he, like Smith, could be read to take that next step - something Davis clearly was not. The trade will also give ammunition to people who blame general manager Jeff Ireland for all of the wrongs with the Dolphins, seeing him trade away a 2009 firs round pick he made, trying to "correct" his own mistakes.
Either way, the Dolphins have given up on Davis, and are ready to move on. The team is clearly in rebuild mode, with multiple second and third round picks for 2013 now. The team appears ready to build around rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, looking more toward the future than they are looking at today.
The Dolphins always play the Patriots tough, and with Tannenhill in the fold, they could very well be in contention in a couple of years. However, for 2012, as Nogle points out, they're clearly in rebuild mode. The trade of Davis is just the latest indication of the direction they're headed in.