Dolphins plan to pick up fifth-year options on WR Jaylen Waddle, OLB Jaelan Phillips

Waddle, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is a key playmaker in Mike McDaniel’s offense. The former Alabama product has exceeded the 1,000-yard mark in each of three seasons in South Beach. As a rookie, he set a then-record with 104 catches (since surpassed by Puka Nacua). In 2022, McDaniel’s first season, Waddle led the NFL with 18.1 yards per reception and set a career-high with 1,356 receiving yards. He missed three games in 2023, sinking his numbers slightly. The wideout has played through injury throughout his young career but hasn’t suffered a severe injury that would make the club weary of the fifth-year guarantee.

Waddle’s fifth-year option is projected to be worth $15.591 million, fully guaranteed, per Over The Cap. Fellow 2021 first-rounder DeVonta Smith‘s recent 3-year, $75 million extension with good cash flow for the wideout could be a blueprint for an eventual deal for Waddle.

Phillips, the No. 18 pick in 2021, was on his way to a career year in 2023 (6.5 sacks in 8 games) before suffering an Achilles injury in November. The edge rusher was solid his first two seasons, netting 15.5 sacks, but was busting out last season, showing the burst off the edge that made him a first-rounder. He might not always take down the quarterback, but Phillips is a backfield disruptor that defenses must account for every play.

The injury was a bummer for Phillips but doesn’t appear to change the club’s decision to utilize the fifth-year option, which is worth $13.251 million, per OTC, fully guaranteed (the injury actually saved the club about $1 million as Phillips missed out on the playtime tier on the option). The extra year gives the club an extended buffer after the injury to allow Phillips to get back to his full self before extension talks seriously ramp up.

Waddle and Phillips won’t be going anywhere for the next two years, giving the team time to work out extensions with one or both.

Grier also added that the team plans to have extension talks with 2021 second-round safety Jevon Holland, who the GM called a big piece of their defensive puzzle. Holland is a do-it-all backend playmaker but missed six games in 2023 due to injury, including the playoff loss in Kansas City.

Grier’s selections at the top of the 2021 draft was a good one. Now, he’s in the process of ensuring that the talent he selected doesn’t leave Miami anytime soon.

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