The Dolphins began their mandatory minicamp today, but there is one noticeable absence. Center Connor Williams is not in attendance, head coach Mike McDaniel said on Tuesday.
McDaniel said that Williams’ absence is not excused, but added that the pair have been in communication with each other. Williams has one year remaining on his contract, but his decision to skip minicamp demonstrates his desire for a new deal this offseason. He has now opened himself up to fines from the team, if they choose to penalize him for not attending.
The 26-year-old found himself on the open market for the first time last year after his rookie deal with the Cowboys expired. He logged 51 starts in Dallas and emerged as one of the better interior O-linemen in the 2022 free agent class. He inked a two-year deal in Miami worth $14MM. He is due a base salary of $6.5MM in 2023 with $2MM in guranteed money.
Williams is eyeing a raise after a successful first campaign in South Beach. After exclusively playing at guard with the Cowboys, the Dolphins used him at center for the full 2023 season. He logged over 1,000 snaps while handling full-time starting duties, and set a new career-high in terms of PFF evaluation. The former second-rounder earned an overall grade of 78.4, excelling in run blocking in particular. After penalties were an issue the previous year, Williams’ flag count also fell back in line with his totals from the beginning of his career.
That performance now has him angling for an extension. Miami has just under $14MM in cap space at the moment, which places them middle of the pack in the league. Getting Williams on the books beyond 2023 could be a priority for the team considering his age and level of play last year, though there are other contracts to take care of as well. One of those is defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who is eligible for what will be a sizeable raise on his second deal and has been in conversation about signing one. Regardless of what happens on that front, attention will no doubt turn to contract talks with Williams amidst his absence.