AFC East Reporter
Tyreek Hill is planning on an abbreviated career. And that’s not good news for the Miami Dolphins, who appear to be pursuing their championship window in an aggressive fashion but without a sure thing at quarterback.
Hill doesn’t seem interested in stretching his career as long as it could last, like so many NFL players do. He seems interested in seeing what life can offer him after football. So how many seasons will he play?
“I’m going for 10,” Hill said during an interview on the “Totally Offensive” podcast last week. “I’m going to finish out this contract with the Dolphins, and then I’m going to call it quits.”
If he follows that timeline, then the 2025 season would be his last.
Before the 2022 season, the Kansas City Chiefs traded Hill to the Dolphins, who gave him a four-year contract extension worth $120 million. In his first year with the team, he finished second in the league in receptions (119) and receiving yards (1,710) while adding seven touchdowns. He was on pace to lead the NFL in catches and yards but an injury to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa set back Miami’s offense.
To be clear, it’s possible that Hill is using a retirement timeline to create contract leverage, in the event the Dolphins or another team shows interest in giving him another contract. And it’s likely they will, given his immense production.
But if Hill is genuinely going to stop playing after 10 seasons, the Dolphins have to plan accordingly. And Tagovailoa’s tenuous health situation will come into even greater focus. The quarterback suffered two documented concussions and is spending the offseason recovering from those injuries. His 2022 season was a tale of two Tuas, with the quarterback getting off to an MVP-caliber start — followed by a disastrous run of poor in-game decision-making during the span of games when he began to suffer the concussions.
It’s hard to get a clear read on where Tagovailoa’s career is headed. But it’s clear the Dolphins are going to commit to him in 2023. They have not pursued any of the quarterbacks on the open market, except Mike White, a former New York Jets backup who will serve in the same role for Miami. White signed and two-year, $8 million contract. Barring a shocking move from the Dolphins in the coming months, they will sit tight with Tua.
And if he deals with any setbacks in his recovery from the concussions or in his development as a quarterback, Miami will be in danger of blowing this Super Bowl window they’re creating.
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The Dolphins are clearly going for broke, trading away major draft assets and paying massive salaries to acquire such stars as Hill, Bradley Chubb, Jalen Ramsey, Terron Armstead and Emmanuel Ogbah. The player with the clearest long-term potential is Hill. He is at a level where the team can build around him for a long time.
Or he would be. Now that he’s intending to retire after the 2025 season, the Dolphins have increased pressure to excel before he leaves the game. Tua needs to play well and stay healthy in 2023, because White isn’t going to win Miami a Super Bowl. And even worse, if the Dolphins can’t count on Tua, they’ll find themselves in the quarterback market in 2024, which doesn’t always end well for quarterback-needy teams. Miami doesn’t want to enter the carousel and end up with Matt Ryan 2.0.
With all this in mind, it begs the question: Have the Dolphins been aggressive enough this offseason to secure their future at QB? Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Derek Carr have all been available. And Miami bet on Tua.
It’s a decision that only gets more important with the news that Hill may not play past his current contract.
Prior to joining FOX Sports as the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.
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