Dolphins’ Jaelan Phillips Suffers Achilles Tear

NOVEMBER 25: An MRI has confirmed that Phillips tore his Achilles and will miss the rest of the season, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

NOVEMBER 24: The Dolphins’ defense looks to have suffered a signficant loss. Edge rusher Jaelan Phillips departed Miami’s Black Friday victory after suffering a non-contact injury which caused him to be carted off the field.

The Dolphins quickly ruled Phillips out with an Achilles injury. Given the timing of their announcement and the nature of the play in which he went down, fears of an Achilles tear have emerged. The fact the injury took place at MetLife Stadium – which has been the subject of widespread criticism for the number of major injuries suffered there – certainly does not help in that regard.

More is yet to be discovered with post-game testing, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports Phillips has been described by a Dolphins staffer as “another MetLife victim.” That points to a signficant absence being in store for the 24-year-old, something which would mark a major blow to his third season with the Dolphins and the team’s pass rush. Phillips posted 5.5 sacks in seven games heading into today’s win over the Jets, and he added another prior to exiting the contest.

The former first-rounder had an injury history dating back to college, having been limited to 10 contests across two seasons at UCLA. After briefly retiring from football, Phillips transferred to Miami and delivered a strong campaign. That helped his draft stock, and optimism for his future as an impact edge rusher increased when he recorded 8.5 sacks as a rookie. Phillips managed to play a full regular season that year, and he did so again in 2022 while collecting seven sacks and taking on a larger snap share. His workload (73% snap rate) in 2023 matched that of last season, meaning he will be difficult to replace moving forward presuming he is forced to miss time.

Bradley Chubb is in place as a starter on the edge for Miami, after he signed a lucrative extension upon his arrival. After being traded midseason by the Broncos in 2022, Chubb has collected 8.5 sacks in 18 regular season Dolphins contests. Emmanuel Ogbah will likely be tasked with filling in for Phillips, something which will mark a signficant jump in playing time for the former. Ogbah has seen a snap share of just 21% this season, and a report from last month lists him as a cut candidate after the campaign.

Ogbah is attached to a $15MM salary in 2023, and the Dolphins would see considerable cap savings by moving on this offseason. The veteran could help his chances of remaining in Miami, or at least boost his free agent stock after being released, with a strong showing down the stretch. The fact he will likely be thrust into a first-team role, however, is a sign of how shorthanded Miami’s pass rush could find itself to close out a promising campaign.

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