It’s been over a week now since the first wave of NFL free agency started and since the Miami Dolphins lost two of their best players in defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and guard Robert Hunt. The Dolphins were well over the salary cap, and General Manager Chris Grier put his team in that position with his trades and big contracts for players like Tyreek Hill, Bradley Chubb, Xavien Howard, and others. Grier tried to get ahead of free agency and sign both players to extensions, but Wilkins wanted more money, and Hunt wanted to test the market. Both players gambled and won. 

Wilkins got a 4-year, $110 million dollar contract from the Las Vegas Raiders with about $85 million guaranteed. Hunt reset the guard market with a 4-year 100 million dollar contract from the Carolina Panthers with over $60 million guaranteed.  It was good for these players to get the big deals they were looking for, as football is a short career, and you want to maximize your value while you can, and both players did that. 

As painful as it is to lose both players, the Dolphins made the right move to let both players walk. Those contracts were too big. Wilkins, a first-round pick in 2019, was a very good player and played with the passion and energy you want on your team. However, I wouldn’t pay top dollar for him. Sure, he came off a career year with nine sacks and became more than a run-stuffer, but the truth is he got a lot of those sacks against lesser teams. Wilkins didn’t show up in big games and make big plays outside of one against the Buffalo Bills in the season finale. He’s a good player but not an elite player. Teams don’t game plan for Wilkins like they would say, Chris Jones. I like Wilkins, but the cost was too much.


Hunt got an enormous amount in free agency. The problem is I don’t see teams paying a $20 million a year salary on an interior lineman, but Hunt found someone that does in the Panthers. He is one of the best linemen the Dolphins have drafted and developed, but like Wilkins, he is too much for this team. On top of that, Hunt missed seven games last year due to injury, and the line did a pretty good job without him. Now, they are better with him but did just fine without him.


 The Dolphins most likely will get some compensatory picks next year with these two losses, possibly two 3rd round picks if things go right. I know that’s next year, but with the Dolphins’ salary cap situation, they are in a spot where they must pick and choose who to pay. The Dolphins very well lost two talented players, but both sides did what was best for them. The players got paid, and the team took a stance. It will possibly hurt the Dolphins this year, but if they had paid both guys that price, imagine what the ramifications against the cap would have been. You can’t pay everyone, unfortunately. Hunt and Wilkins are good players but not elite, and you don’t overpay for just good players. The Dolphins will have tougher decisions in the next few years, but this was the right move despite losing talent. 


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