The Miami Dolphins made a potential franchise-altering trade last year when they traded for Tyreek Hill. Pairing Hill with the likes of wide receiver Jaylen Waddle who had himself a very promising rookie season at the time, seemed like a match made in heaven for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The results on the field further proved the worth of that pairing; Tua had himself a breakout campaign putting up career-high numbers, Jaylen Waddle took another step in his development, and Tyreek Hill had arguably the best season of his NFL career. It’s safe to say that Miami has found the perfect pair of receivers for Tua. Both the WR1 and WR2 spots appear to be locked up for years to come; the same can not be said about the slot receiver position.

During the 2022 season, the Miami Dolphins got great production out of wide receiver Trent Sherfield. Sherfield posted solid numbers and was the clear-cut #3 receiver for Miami, ending the season with any Dolphin wide receiver’s 3rd highest snap count. The problem is that Trent Sherfield was not re-signed this off-season; he actually ended up signing with the division rival Buffalo Bills. This leaves a bit of a void at the slot receiver position; the good news is that Miami has multiple options already under contract that can potentially step up and claim the job.

Cedrick Wilson, who was signed to a 3-year $22M deal a year ago, could get the first crack at the job. He was brought in the same off-season. Mike McDaniel became Head Coach, and Wilson was paid as if he’d be the 3rd starter next to Waddle and Hill. Unfortunately for Miami, Wilson failed to live up to expectations in year one, wasn’t very productive, and lost a significant chunk of his touches to other receivers on the roster last year. That being said, it’s important to note that he was paid for that reason. Wilson was impressive for the Dallas Cowboys a year before joining Miami; he replaced an injured Michael Gallup in Dallas’ lineup midway through that season and posted career numbers in that role. I don’t think it’d be fair to dismiss him going forward completely; it’s entirely possible that his 2nd year in the McDaniel system could see him become more comfortable in the offense and return to form. However, recent reports have indicated that the team may be looking to trade Wilson, so it’s anybody’s guess what his future with the team will hold.

Another candidate to assume slot responsibilities is newly signed wide receiver Braxton Berrios. Berrios has been somewhat of a return specialist during his 4-year NFL career, which is a welcomed addition for a team that struggled in the return game like Miami did in 2022. However, he did show some flashes in the passing game as a receiver during his time with the Jets, so it is possible that he can become the slot receiver the Dolphins need under the tutelage of Mike McDaniel. Bare minimum, I do think Berrios will see more time as a receiver in Miami than he did in New York, but he probably does not end up as the WR3.

I think the WR3 spot could be taken over by someone on the roster last year. Erik Ezukanma and River Cracraft are both players I can see stepping up and taking over that role. Ezukanma was drafted by McDaniel and company in the 4th round in last year’s NFL Draft. He didn’t see much action in his rookie season, but sitting a year, taking time to learn the offense, and adjusting to the speed of the pro game could have him set up for success in his sophomore season. With River Cracraft, it’s a very different situation. Cracraft has multiple seasons of NFL experience and was an undrafted free agent back in 2017. He did, however, show some flashes early on in his first season with Miami (I know Dolphin fans remember his touchdowns vs. the Ravens and Bills in back to weeks). It is worth noting that he was also dealing with various injuries throughout the season that did somewhat derail an otherwise memorable season for Cracraft. Perhaps a second year of building chemistry with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and some better fortune with an injury can help propel Cracraft up the depth chart a bit.

There’s plantly of time before the start of the season, so who knows what kind of players can be signed, drafted, or cut between now and then. We could very well be talking about an entirely different name come September. That said, I think Miami is in a good spot with the slot receiver position; it’s simply a matter of determining who will be taking over that responsibility.