Here at The Phinsider, I have an annual series titled “Retain, Tag, or Let Walk?” that I run during the offseason months leading up to free agency. Said series allows me to analyze impending Miami Dolphins free agents and discern (with the help of you readers in the comments) whether or not the Miami Dolphins should work to keep those free agents or let them walk on the open market.
Well, we’re not quite at February or March yet, but a recent set of moves made by general manager Chris Grier has me already wondering about the future of one particular Dolphin, and though his contract may not be expiring in the 2020 offseason, I’m starting to get the feeling he’ll be looking for a team come Spring time.
Albert Wilson signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Dolphins prior to the 2018 season. Mike Tannenbaum, who at the time was Miami’s Vice President of Football Operations and primarily in charge of free agency, felt that Wilson would fit well in then head coach Adam Gase’s scheme. For the most part, Tannenbaum was right (that feels odd to type), as Wilson was one of Miami’s most dangerous offensive weapons in Gase’s final year in Miami.
Through seven games, the shifty and speedy Wilson corralled 26 receptions for 391 yards at an impressive 15.0 yards per carry, much of which he managed after the catch by eluding defenders with the ball already in hand. Wilson compiled four touchdowns receptions and threw another to his favorite high-five buddy, Jakeem Grant. Unfortunately, a hip injury landed Wilson on injured reserve, but it was clear the Dolphins had found a key contributor on offense (or so we thought).
Then 2019 came along. Going into this season, Wilson was still recovering from his hip injury and his status for Week 1 was in doubt. The 27-year old pass catcher ultimately suited up, but was subsequently injured once more, only to reappear in Week 5 and catch five passes from Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick in a loss to the Washington Redskins. Since that game, Wilson has caught five or more passes in a game just twice and has failed to top 35 yards though the air in a single contest this season.
It seems as though Wilson’s ability to evade defenders after the catch was lost with his hip injury and his impact on the offense has gone with it. He has just one score on the year, and his 5.9 yards per reception is downright depressing for someone who has 26 catches through Week 14.
This season, Chris Grier has handed out contract extensions to Jakeem Grant, Allen Hurns, and most recently, the revitalized DeVante Parker. With rookie phenom Preston Williams also set to return next season, Miami’s pass catching corps is quite crowded. With a very deep draft class of wideouts set to enter the league next year, you can bet that the Dolphins will do extensive research while preparing to potentially add more talent to the wide receiver room when the draft rolls around in April.
If the Dolphins were to move on from Wilson after the season, the team would forego a cap hit of over $10.8 million in exchange for just over $1.3 million in dead cap space. That’s a lot of money that Grier could use on free agents that are far more likely to help out the roster than Wilson next season. It’s clear that Wilson has some quality years left in his career, but his lack of impact this season, whether due to lingering hip issues or lack of fit in offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea’s scheme, leads me to believe Miami’s top brass will look hard at moving on from Wilson in the next few months.
What should the Dolphins do with Albert Wilson this offseason?
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