Dolphins’ GM says team will pick up fifth-year options on these two stars from 2021 NFL Draft

The Miami Dolphins made two first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, and it’s fair to say they hit on both with wide receiver Jaylen Waddle at No. 6 overall, and pass rusher Jaelan Phillips at No. 18 overall. Miami would like to keep both players on roster for years to come, and general manager Chris Grier told reporters on Tuesday that the Dolphins will pick up the fifth-year options on both players, per ESPN

If both options are indeed picked up, Waddle will make $15,591,000 in 2025, while Phillips will earn $13,251,000, per Over The Cap. The deadline to pick up fifth-year options on first-round picks from the 2021 class is Thursday, May 2. 

Waddle caught 72 passes for 1,014 yards and four touchdowns in 2023, and he has crossed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his three NFL seasons. The 104 receptions he recorded in his rookie campaign set an NFL record, which was just broken this past season by Los Angeles Rams rookie Puka Nacua. In 2022, Waddle led the league with 18.1 yards per reception while recording a career-high eight receiving touchdowns. 

Waddle is one of the best “No. 2” wideouts in the league, and the future of the franchise, according to teammate Tyreek Hill

“My boy Waddle is the future,” Hill wrote on X earlier this offseason. “He is better than I was at this point in his career and for people in this fan base to want to trade him is ludicrous.”

Hill added: “Him and Tua [Tagovailoa were] special before me and will be special after I leave.”

Phillips, who played some of his college ball in Miami after transferring from UCLA, burst onto the NFL scene with 8.5 sacks in his rookie season despite registering just five official starts. He was on pace for a career year in 2023 before he tore his Achilles on Black Friday against the New York Jets. In just eight games played in 2023, Phillips recorded 43 combined tackles, 6.5 sacks and his first career interception. 

Phillips is now focusing on what he can control in rehab.

“Been locked in and just motivated to get back for the season,” Phillips said (via “I guess the biggest thing I’ve taken out of it is just understanding that God has a bigger plan and sometimes life, things happen that it’s hard to find a reason why, but why doesn’t really matter, it’s how you respond. For me, just being able to keep my head up throughout this process and find some silver linings and just understand that I can use this time to improve on other aspects of my life. It’s been great so far.”

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