The Miami Dolphins seem to be going all-in on this season, looking to move from the “rebuild” of the past few years into a team looking to compete and win in 2022. Even as the team reshapes itself into new head coach Mike McDaniel’s vision, they are looking to build off finishing the last two seasons with winning records and become a team that finds itself in the playoffs.
One huge piece of that puzzle was the surprise addition of wide receiver Tyreek Hill. A six-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time First-Team All-Pro, Hill is a household name and a player who is known for his explosiveness. But, Hill is more than just speed on the field, and given the Dolphins used first-, second-, and fourth-round draft picks this year plus fourth- and sixth-round picks next year to bring Hill to South Florida, he has to be more than just speed. What exactly are the Dolphins getting in Hill? I turned to Rock Magana from Arrowhead Pride, SB Nation’s Chiefs team site, for more.
1. What happened with the Chiefs and Hill to make this trade possible?
Tyreek Hill wanted to be the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. There were rumors out of Hill’s camp that he would be willing to sit out 2022 if he didn’t get a new contract. In the weeks leading up to the trade, the Chiefs presented Hill with a contract extension that would have made him one of the highest paid wide receivers in the NFL. When free agency began and the Jacksonville Jaguars overpaid for Christian Kirk, it inflated the market and set the table for the Davante Adams deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, where they gave Adams $140 millions over five years. This instantly priced the Chiefs out of the conversation. Once this became apparent, the Chiefs gave Hill’s and his agent permission to seek a trade. From there it was a bidding war, and thankfully Miami won. Although, given Hill’s ties to the area, it appears that if he was not going to stay with the Chiefs, that Miami may have been his preferred destination all along.
2. How are the Chiefs fans reacting to losing Hill? The draft picks they received in return?
Kansas City is a blue collar town. We are fiercely loyal to our team and players, and think our stars are the best to ever play their position. When a player was with the team for as long as Tyreek was, and had performed the level he did, we can’t help but fall in love with them and find letting them go to be very difficult.
Like with any breakup, the initial shock was pretty severe. A lot of fans didn’t understand why he didn’t want to stay with the club, while others thought that the Chiefs should just give him whatever he wanted to stay.
But all of that was just the initial reaction to the news. After a few good nights of sleep, I think fans have come to terms with it, and just appreciate the relationship for what it was, a beautiful moment in time, that included four AFC Championships, two Super Bowls Appearances, and on Super Bowl Victory.
Now, most fans I’ve talked to have begun to turn the page and are optimistic about what Chiefs general manager Brett Veach can do with the additional picks and the extra salary cap space. We have begun to heal and are ready to fall in love again. Plus I don’t think you can argue with the compensation we received. This was a deal that worked out for all parties.
3. Obviously, everyone talks about Hill’s speed, but speed does not always translate to NFL success (see seemingly every wide receiver drafted by the Raiders). Outside of the speed factor, what are Hills’s strengths?
One thing about Tyreek’s game that gets overlooked and separates him from all of the other straight-line speed guys in the NFL is that he is equally as agile and twitchy as he is fast. He can effortlessly stop on a dime and then accelerate back to top speed in the blink of an eye. I’ve never seen another player who can do that like he does.
He is also one of the five best route runners in the NFL in my opinion. The league is packed full of fast guys. Speed alone will not get you the sort of separation that Hill creates. Early in his career, when he was labeled as a kick returner and a gadget player, this is something he spent multiple offseasons working on. He also has an impressive vertical jump for a guy his size and wins more 50/50 balls than he should.
4. What are his weaknesses?
While Hill is an elite player, he is not perfect. Two areas that can be issues for him are his hands and his catch radius. Hill had 10 dropped passes last season. He lets too many easy balls into his chest instead of catching them with his hands away from his frame. He’s not a big or long-armed guy either, so he struggles to catch the ball when it’s thrown away from his body or behind him. Concentration can also be an issue for him at times. He is susceptible to mental lapses and dropping the easy catch from time to time.
5. How do you think he will fit into Mike McDaniel’s system and the Dolphins’ locker room?
I think it’s going to be interesting to see how McDaniel’s utilizes Hill and Waddle at the same time, since they both do a lot of the same things well. I think as far as scheme goes, the transition should be rather smooth since both Miami and Kansas City run versions of the West Coast Offense. The concepts should be familiar to him. I think Cedric Wilson is going to play a key role in both Hill and Waddle’s success. If he can be the underneath chain mover who keeps the defense honest, then that will free up Hill and Waddle to stretch the field. Like Waddle, all you have to do is find ways to get the ball in Hill’s hands in space and then watch him work.
As far as fitting into the locker room goes, you will be hard-pressed to find a more enigmatic personality than Tyreek Hill. He is a guy who is always good for a sound bite. He is loyal to his teammates and coaches, and won’t throw anybody under the bus. He owns up to his mistakes. For as cocky of a guy as he is, he is also very likable. This might be his most overlooked strength. Hill has an unshakable belief in himself and his abilities. He’s not a guy who’s going to quit on his team. He’s going to fight until the end.