Dolphins Predicted to Make $28 Million Decision in 2024

Dolphins predicted to exercise fifth-year options of Jaelan Phillips and Jaylen Waddle.

Getty The Miami Dolphins have two big decisions upcoming on 2021 first rounders Jaelan Phillips (pictured above) and Jaylen Waddle.

The Miami Dolphins made two first-round selections in 2021: Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips.

That means the front office has two fifth-year options to decide on by May 2, and Pro Football Focus salary cap expert Brad Spielberger predicted that the Dolphins will exercise both on March 19.

The first is a no-brainer. “Waddle will be the Dolphins’ No. 1 pass catcher in the not-so-distant future when Tyreek Hill retires,” Spielberger explained, “and his option will be exercised to keep him under contract through 2025.”

Due to playtime statistics, Waddle’s option will cost Miami $15.591 million. The second choice is a trickier one — which would cost the Dolphins $13.251 million — but Spielberger expects the organization to bet on Phillips’ injury recovery as well.

“Phillips is a rising star as an edge rusher, but a torn Achilles around the midway point of the 2023 season makes this a bit more interesting,” he wrote. “At the end of the day, the talent is too good to not pick up the option here, especially because Phillips didn’t qualify for a raise to the option, given the missed playtime.”

All in all, the joint decision will cost Miami approximately $28.842 million in cap space next year, barring an extension for either of the two youngsters. “Upon being exercised, the fifth-year option is fully guaranteed, and any base salary in the player’s fourth year that was not fully guaranteed will become so,” per Over the Cap.

Dolphins’ Jaelan Phillips Continues to Post Updates on Achilles Rehab

Since beginning his recovery from the torn Achilles, Phillips has updated fans with videos from physical therapy and his rehab program on Instagram.

The most recent clip (from March 19) showed Phillips completing a couple of different swimming pool workouts which involved walking and strengthening that Achilles underwater. Sun Sentinel reporter David Furones was among those who shared the video on X.

In another video on March 14, Phillips balanced on his right leg while working on reaction time and hand movements with blinking lights for him to tap. This time, Dolphins podcaster Marisa Marino shared the clip via X.

At this rate, Phillips could retake the field faster than his initial prognosis. In fact, Sun Sentinel insider Chris Perkins reported that “after consulting with a couple of qualified professionals — football players, not doctors — there’s reason to think [Bradley] Chubb and Phillips could both be healthy and in the starting lineup for the Dolphins’ season opener in early September.”

Perkins went on to add that although this is an “optimistic” hope, it’s also “totally possible” at the current timeline of their recoveries.

Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle Is Looking to Make It 4 Straight 1,000-Yard Seasons in 2024

Rarely do NFL wide receivers carry out a 100% track record of 1,000-yard seasons. The ultra-consistent Mike Evans has become famous for doing so throughout his career, with 10 straight 1,000-yard campaigns in Tampa Bay since entering the league.

Waddle will attempt to make it a clean 4-for-4 in 2024, after a career-low 1,014 receiving yards last year. And that total was achieved after missing three games.

As long as he remains healthy, 1,000 yards through the air should be attainable for a receiver like Waddle. The Dolphins are still looking to add a third prominent pass-catcher but as of now, this is a two-headed WR corps that targets Hill and Waddle often.

That means lots of opportunities for the former first-round selection out of Alabama.

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