OTAs, I always enjoy reading because the Miami Dolphins are getting started on their work prior to training camp. I like reading about players who are performing well and players who aren’t. Sure, it’s football without pads, but it means we are getting closer to training camp and a new season. However, there are times the biggest headline is who isn’t at OTA’s because a player wants a new contract and won’t show up. The Dolphins have been fortunate not to have the issue for the most part over the year, but center Connor Williams has one year left on his contract and wants a new deal. 

General manager Chris Grier, is going to have to make some decisions in the next couple of years because drafted players’ rookie contracts are up, and veterans who have outperformed their contracts are about up. Grier has to decide who to keep and who not to. It’s probably the toughest part of this rebuilding process because there is only so much money to go around with the salary cap. On top of that, Grier has been aggressively trading for players like Tyreek Hills, Jalen Ramsey, and Bradley Chubb, giving away draft picks and giving those players new deals or more guaranteed money. The Dolphins are projected to be over the cap next year, and it won’t get easier. 

Williams came to the Dolphins from the Dallas Cowboys and signed a 2-year contract worth $14 million. He changed from guard to center and became one of the best players on the offensive line last year. However, most of the guaranteed money on that contract has been paid. Williams is looking to get a new contract for the Dolphins; if not, he will find one with another team in free agency next off-season. Williams has been the best center the team has had since Mike Pouncey left. The Dolphins have struggled to find a center over the years, and if they don’t take care of Williams, they might find themselves going through another cycle of centers. If the Dolphins truly want to protect their quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, then they will take care of Williams. I don’t blame Williams for not showing up to send a message to the team because players have to look out for themselves from the business side of football. He’s not the only player the Dolphins have to look to take care of.  

Colin Cowherd and Co-Host Joke about Miami having 10 Wins….total over the Next 2 Seasons

Christian Wilkins was the first player picked in this rebuilding process and is currently playing on the 5th year option at just over $10 million. Wilkins has improved year after year since being drafted and is one of the best players on the Dolphins’ defense. The problem is other DTs drafted the same year as Wilkins is getting contract extensions, but Wilkins hasn’t gotten him yet. Dexter Lawrence, Jeffery Simmons, and Ed Oliver have gotten their money. You could make the argument that Wilkins has played better than all of those guys. I was surprised Oliver got an extension because he hasn’t played up to the number 9 pick in the draft status, and Wilkins was drafted four picks after him.  Lawrence had a good season last year, but prior to last year was just a flash in the pan. Simmons has been the most consistent of this group since coming into the league. Wilkins is going to get paid, and the Dolphins should sign him to create more cap space this year and make sure one of their cornerstone players on defense is locked in for years to come. Some say Wilkins doesn’t rush the passer very well, so what Tim Bowens wasn’t a great pass rusher, but he was a cog in the middle of the defense, pushing the guard and center back, and that’s what Wilkins is. I’m surprised he’s not holding out for a new deal, but he is letting his agent handle the business and wants to concentrate on football. 

The other defensive lineman, whose contract is expiring next year, Zach Seiler, has clearly outperformed his contract. How the Baltimore Ravens let him go in 2019 is mind-boggling. Seiler has been a baller since he got to the Dolphins, and he’s outperformed his contract by making $2.5 million this year. He’s going to get paid like Wilkins and Williams. Frankly, I don’t know how the Dolphins will keep him and Wilkins on that defensive line, but that’s a dilemma Grier has to figure out. Can he keep both of his defensive tackles at a premium cost? If not, Grier will either let him play out the final year of his deal and let him walk, or maybe some team will make a trade for him. I think he will play out the year and walk. I hate saying that, but I don’t see how the Dolphins can keep him and Wilkins. The Dolphins did that with Bowens and Daryl Gardener years ago, but that was a different time.  

Grier is going to have to worry about these players, but there are other young players outperforming their rookie contracts that will need to be taken care of. Jalen Phillips, Javeon Holland, Brandon Jones, and Jaylen Waddle are all in the middle of their rookie contracts, but in a year or two, decisions will have to be made. I haven’t even got to Tagovailoa, who will be playing on the 5th year option next year, and then who knows what happens. 

 The business side is really going to be interesting in the next couple of years with Grier. Teams have to make tough decisions on good players, whether to keep them or let them go. The Kansas City Chiefs did that with Hill a year ago because they paid their quarterback and couldn’t pay Hill salary demand along with Patrick Mahomes, so they got the best value they could for him. Grier might be forced into that situation soon enough. Williams is just the start of a player holding out for another contract, and others may follow, so Grier better have a good plan up his sleeve on what to do.