One of the most unlikeliest of events happened on March 23rd when the Kansas City Chiefs agreed to trade 6x Pro Bowl, All World WR Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. In exchange, the Dolphins gave up five draft picks (2022 1st, 2nd, 4th and 2023 4th and 6th). The deal also included Hill accepting a 4-yr, $120M extension with over $72M guaranteed, making him the highest paid WR in the NFL.
For the Chiefs, it will be a big hole to fill, but probably won’t be crippling to their success. Sure Hill’s blazing speed tormented defenses in the Chiefs’ high powered offense led by a superstar QB with a cannon. But the Chiefs also have a great TE in Travis Kelce and another speed guy in Mecole Hardman. They just added Juju Smith-Schuster a few days prior and former Packers’ WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling a few days after. In making these acquisitions, the Chiefs’ offense will still be formidable, but definitely not as scary.
This brings me to the Dolphins, a franchise that for this entire century has been more downtrodden than successful. Since 2000: two division titles, one playoff win. The days of Dan Marino and Don Shula gave way to 1-15 seasons and more than 15 starting quarterbacks since their legendary QB retires. A team that ruled the AFC East for decades saw the New England Patriots run roughshod over them and the other division rivals for almost 20 years straight. Now after two consecutive winning seasons (no playoff appearances), the Dolphins seemed to be on the right track.
Then, as if on queue, chaos ensued: Head Coach Brian Flores was fired after the season, a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination, pay for losses and tampering is brought by Flores and the Dolphins are once again in the national spotlight for the wrong reasons. This comes after a decade that saw the owner try to get Jim Harbaugh to coach when he already had a coach in place, a bullying scandal and an assistant coach doing drugs on video while expressing his affection for a Las Vegas woman.
So with the teams’ mediocre play coupled with their embarrassing off the field antics, why does this Hill trade mean so much? Well first and foremost, not since Ndamukong Suh have the Dolphins have one of the top players in the entire league on their team. Also, you would have to go back to when Ricky Williams was there for this team to have a bigger star on the offensive side. For years being trampled by the Patriots only to now being a punching bag to the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins took a major step to compete with the big boys. They have an electric defense that can cause havoc with their blitzing schemes led by one of the best secondaries in the league. They may have a franchise QB in Tua Tagovailoa who they selected with the 5th pick in 2020. However the offense has been in the bottom third of the league for the past few years.
The Tyreek Hill trade comes as what seems like the final big piece of an offensive overhaul. A day earlier the Dolphins signed Terron Armstead, who was rated as one of the top linemen available in free agency. They added players like OL Connor Williams, WR Cedric Wilson and RBs Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds. They hit a home run last draft with rookie sensations Jaylen Waddle and Jevon Holland and franchise tagged TE Mike Gesicki. Bringing in a offensive minded head coach in Mike McDaniel who specializes in the run game, Tua finally has the pieces to work with and see if he is truly a franchise quarterback.
But this trade changed everything. The Dolphins seemed to be content with the changes they made to build off of their 9-8 season to take the next step and make the playoffs. That is not the expectation anymore. With Tyreek Hill, their offense is one of the most explosive in the league, something this franchise couldn’t say for 30 or so years. Making a run at the division title and a deep playoff run is now the goal. The excitement on social media by the Dolphins’ fans was something never shown by them. How could their team ACTUALLY have the talent that match their hopes and dreams? Some Dolphins’ fans are grown and still haven’t seen their team win a playoff game. Only the Detroit Lions have a longer drought.
It’s an exciting time for fans of the Miami Dolphins, seeing their team go after one of the best players in the entire NFL and get him! This franchise has been starving for not only star power but relevance and they achieved both and then some with this trade.