The Dolphins and defensive lineman Zach Sieler have agreed to a three-year contract extension, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. Per Schefter, the deal is worth up to $38.65MM and includes $20MM in guarantees. The NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe says that the contract has a base value of $30.75MM and can top out at $35.7MM via incentives, so we will need to wait for a little more clarity with respect to Sieler’s maximum earnings. The reporters are in agreement on the $20MM guaranteed money figure.
Sieler, a seventh-round pick of the Ravens in 2018, is the last player that longtime Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome drafted while at the top of the club’s personnel department. But like many Day 3 draftees, Sieler had a difficult time carving out a role for himself, and after appearing in just six games for the Ravens, he was waived in December 2019.
The Dolphins, who were in the midst of a rebuild at the time, claimed Sieler and gave him his first NFL start several weeks later. In that game, a victory over the Bengals, Sieler recorded his first career sack, along with seven total tackles and two passes defensed.
The Ferris State find built on that momentum the following year, and in November 2020, he landed a three-year, $8.58MM extension that ran through the 2023 season. That deal gave Sieler a little financial security, but it was also a buy-low transaction for the club, which was rewarded for its savvy waiver claim with over three years of a quality defensive lineman at a fairly modest cost.
In 2022, Sieler appeared in all 17 regular season games (15 starts). He set career-highs with a 77% snap share, 70 total tackles, four passes defensed, and two forced fumbles, and his 3.5 sacks matched his career-best total from 2020 (he also added two sacks, a fumble recovery, and a defensive touchdown in Miami’s postseason loss to the Bills). Pro Football Focus’ metrics considered him the 21st-best interior defender out of 127 qualifiers, and while PFF did not think highly of his pass rush work last season, it assigned him elite grades across the board in 2021, when it ranked him as the third-best interior DL in the league.
It stands to reason, then, that Sieler wanted a raise on the $2.5MM he was due to earn in the final year of his first Miami extension. Indeed, we heard in June that the soon-to-be 28-year-old was actively seeking a new contract, and player and team were able to come to terms before the start of a season in which the Dolphins are again expected to contend for a playoff berth.
Sieler’s fellow defensive lineman, Christian Wilkins, is pushing for his own lucrative extension, and he has staged a hold-in as part of his efforts to secure it. One wonders what type of impact, if any, the Sieler agreement will have on negotiations with Wilkins. While the Dolphins’ short-term salary cap outlook is less than ideal, the team did not supplement its D-line with any free agent signings or draft picks this year, and Miami generally takes care of the talent that Drew Rosenhaus represents (both Sieler and Wilkins are Rosenhaus clients).