Dolphins Rumors

NFL Contract Details: Rookies, Andrews, Shepard

Normally, the details of rookie contract signings don’t draw much note from the media. Most facets of the rookie contract are not up for negotiation, so by the book numbers don’t tend to interest the NFL world. Lately, though, NFL teams have gotten creative with how they deal with rookie deals, usually rewarding first- and second-round picks with guaranteed money.

Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 noted three second-round picks whose deals were reported recently. New Commanders cornerback Mike Sainristil out of Michigan’s rookie deal will see the base salaries of his 2024 and 2025 seasons fully guaranteed and $897K of $1.5MM guaranteed from his 2026 salary. Dolphins rookie offensive tackle Patrick Paul from Houston will see similar guarantees. All of his base salary for 2024 and 2025 will be guaranteed along with $413K of his 2026 salary worth $1.42MM. Lastly, Cowboys rookie pass rusher out of Western Michigan, Marshawn Kneeland, will see his first two years fully guaranteed, as well. Kneeland will also see $322K of his 2026 base salary (worth a total of $1.42MM) guaranteed.

Here are some other details from recent contracts around the NFL:

  • We recently saw the Patriots grant center David Andrews a raise in a new extension. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe gives us further details on the new contract. He notes that Andrews was guaranteed $1.75MM of his $5MM for 2024. He also reports that the deal will reduce Andrews’ cap impact next year from $8.43MM to $6.68MM.
  • The Buccaneers recently signed former Giants receiver Sterling Shepard to a one-year, $1.38MM deal. Wilson of KPRC2 tells us that Shepard will be able to earn a $50K roster bonus if he’s on the active roster by Week 1 of the season. He’ll also have the opportunity to earn an additional $6,911 per game in active roster bonuses for a potential season total of $117,500.

Dolphins To Sign DL Calais Campbell

The Dolphins are not stopping at Shaquil Barrett as a front-seven addition. They are adding one of this era’s most accomplished defensive linemen. Calais Campbell is coming back to South Florida.

After a season in Atlanta, Campbell intends to sign with the Dolphins, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. Campbell is a Denver native but played collegiately at Miami back in the 2000s. This will be the consistent D-lineman’s 17th NFL season. The agreement will also reunite Campbell and new Dolphins DC Anthony Weaver, who coached the stalwart interior defender with the Ravens.

Plenty of time has passed since Campbell’s previous Miami stay; he was college teammates with Frank Gore, Devin Hester and Antrel Rolle. Campbell joined the Hurricanes 20 years ago, redshirting during the 2004 season. The 37-year-old defender did return to Florida for his memorable Jaguars stay; this will complete a journey back to where he starred in college. Campbell will join a Dolphins team that lost top interior pass rusher Christian Wilkins this offseason.

Although Campbell will turn 38 in September, he is still performing at a high level. The former Cardinals draftee totaled 6.5 sacks last season, pacing the Falcons, and produced his most quarterback hits (17) since the 2019 season. His 10 tackles for loss also doubled as the most he had notched since 2019. Campbell also notched a third career safety during a productive Atlanta stay, but after the Falcons changed coaching staffs, the productive veteran will rejoin his former position coach in Miami.

New Falcons HC Raheem Morris said in April he looked forward to a Campbell meeting, keeping the door open to a return. Atlanta, which has Grady Jarrett on the road back from an ACL tear, used three draft choices to bolster its D-line this year. While the Falcons took heat for drafting Michael Penix Jr. in Round 1 and punting on its glaring need for a pass rusher, the team did circle back to help its front on Days 2 and 3 of the draft.

Standing 6-foot-8, Campbell has been one of this era’s premier inside rushers. He will enter the 2024 season with 105.5 career sacks. Among players currently on NFL rosters, only Von Miller (123.5) and Cameron Jordan (117.5) have that beat. Campbell, who is also one of the great kick blockers in NFL history, entered the NFL three years before those edge-rushing standouts. He will continue to serve as the longest-tenured defender in football.

Campbell made all six of his Pro Bowls from 2014-20, serving as a key part of the Cardinals’ successful mid-2010s defenses before anchoring the Jaguars’ “Sacksonville” efforts later in the decade. Campbell’s free agency accord with Jacksonville in 2017 played a central role in the team making a stunning run to the AFC championship game. He totaled a career-high 14.5 sacks that season and followed that up with 10.5 in 2018. As the Jags’ nucleus splintered, Campbell wound up in Baltimore via trade. He spent three seasons with the Ravens, making a Pro Bowl in 2020 and totaling 5.5 sacks in 2022.

The Dolphins lost both Wilkins and Raekwon Davis off their defensive line in free agency. While the team extended Zach Sieler last year, Wilkins broke through as a pass rusher in his contract year and signed a monster Raiders deal in free agency. The Dolphins had not ruled out retaining Wilkins, but their cap situation made that virtually impossible.

Campbell has a better record as a pass rusher, though his age obviously brings down his price tag. The historically experienced pass rusher joins Jonathan Harris, Da’Shawn Hand and Teair Tart as Miami offseason D-line additions. Campbell played for $7MM last season; it should be expected his Dolphins contract will not check in too much higher than the deals given to the other UFA D-linemen Miami added this year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/13/24

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Tennessee Titans

  • Waived/injured: OL X’Zauvea Gadlin

Gubner comes to the Chiefs after winning Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year honors at Montana last season. Spending six years at the Division I-FCS program, Gubner totaled 28.5 tackles for loss during his college career. The Chiefs also have cleared the runway for Matt Araiza‘s second chance. The recently added specialist is now the only punter on Kansas City’s roster, with Rehkow signing as a UDFA in May.

A former fifth-round Panthers pick, Nixon played 14 games with his original team but did see any game action in 2023. Both the Panthers and Seahawks waived Nixon in 2022. After Nixon had spent last season out of football, the Dolphins signed him in March.

Dolphins Sign First-Round DE Chop Robinson, Finish Draft Class Deals

By the time the Dolphins donned their cold-weather gear for the wild-card game in Kansas City, their edge-rushing contingent included multiple emergency free agent pickups. As both Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips continued their rehab efforts months later, Miami used its first-round pick to bolster this position.

The Dolphins, who lost Andrew Van Ginkel in free agency, chose Chop Robinson 21st overall. With Phillips going down with an Achilles tear in late November and Chubb sustaining an ACL tear (the second of his pro career) on New Year’s Eve, the Dolphins have both their top edges rehabbing this offseason. Robinson, who will join Shaq Barrett as an offseason Dolphins reinforcement, will be tasked with providing immediate aid while developing as a pro.

Robinson signed his first-round rookie deal Thursday, with KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson noting it will be a $14.98MM deal. That contract, which will run through 2027 and feature a fifth-year option, comes fully guaranteed.

Impressing at the Combine, Robinson would be positioned to play behind Chubb and Phillips once the duo returns to full strength. With Chubb a candidate for the reserve/PUP list — especially considering the former top-five pick has now sustained two ACL tears since the 2019 season — Robinson stands to be an important part of Miami’s defense early this season.

Robinson followed up his Penn State career by blazing to a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. The edge rusher put himself on the NFL map following a solid 2022 campaign where he finished with 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. His numbers were not as strong in 2023 (four sacks, 7.5 TFLs). Still, Robinson managed to stick in the first round.

The Dolphins are set to have three first-rounders and a former single-season sack leader manning its edge positions. Once Chubb and Phillips recover, Anthony Weaver’s defense will have some interesting options to pressure quarterbacks. The Dolphins have Phillips signed for two more seasons, via the fifth-year option, and have Chubb — via the five-year deal he agreed to following the 2022 trade with the Broncos — signed through 2027.

Here is how Miami’s 2024 draft class wrapped up:

Dolphins Sign Round 2 T Patrick Paul

As offensive line injuries have piled up for the Dolphins under Mike McDaniel, the team is again hoping for the best with Terron Armstead. The veteran left tackle has battled various maladies in Miami but has delivered quality play when available.

Armstead opted to return for a 12th NFL season, and the Dolphins have right tackle Austin Jackson signed long term as well. Jackson impressed last season but missed almost all of the 2022 campaign due to injury. This made the draft a key window for the team to invest up front, and the Dolphins did by using a second-round pick on Patrick Paul. The Day 2 investment is now signed.

The Dolphins announced they have come to terms with Paul on his second-round rookie deal, which will run through 2027. This year’s steady gains on the guarantee front will benefit Paul, whom the Dolphins chose 55th overall. Based on where the Texans went for Blake Fisher at No. 59, Paul stands to be the first player chosen 55th overall to see part of his Year 3 base salary guaranteed. Houston guaranteed 4% of its second-round tackle’s 2026 base.

Paul primarily played left tackle at Houston, which moved from the American Athletic Conference to the Big 12 ahead of his final college season. The talented blocker impressed regardless, finishing as a first-team All-Big 12 tackle a year after earning first-team All-AAC acclaim in 2021 and ’22. Second-team All-America honors poured in for Paul, who started 27 games at left tackle over the past two seasons. Paul also made three LT starts for the Cougars as a freshman in 2019.

Despite Paul’s college body of work, ESPN’s Scouts Inc. did not have him graded as a Day 2 prospect; he checked in 132nd on that list. The Dolphins disagreed, and Armstead’s run of injuries points to the rookie potentially being needed in 2024.

The team also may have the option of keeping Paul on the developmental track. Miami re-signed swing tackle Kendall Lamm to a one-year, $2.5MM deal this offseason. Lamm made eight starts last year, mostly filling in for Armstead, who missed seven games. With Armstead on a year-to-year track and Lamm a veteran backup, Paul has a clear path to being a Dolphins starter in the not-too-distant future.

Dolphins To Sign S Marcus Maye

Marcus Maye has found his next squad. The veteran safety is signing with the Dolphins, according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz.

Maye was cut by the Saints earlier this offseason, ending his two-year stint in New Orleans. At the time, we heard the defensive back was drawing interest from a handful of teams, including the Titans. However, it’s been quiet on the Maye front for about three months before today’s news. Schultz notes that Maye did indeed attract interest from “multiple” suitors. Ultimately, Maye opted for the Dolphins because he wants to be part of a hopeful “Super Bowl contender” in Miami.

The Saints gave Maye a three-year, $22.5MM contract in March 2022, but he only got into 17 games across two seasons with the organization. Injuries and multiple arrests impacted his stint in New Orleans. Maye’s three-game ban — levied midway through last season — stemmed from a DUI arrest while the DB was with the Jets, but the player was also arrested for aggravated assault with a firearm in fall 2022.

New Orleans ultimately decided to move on following a 2023 campaign where Maye was limited to seven games. While his counting stats were serviceable (including a pair of interceptions), Pro Football Focus graded him only 80th among 95 qualifying safeties. The site was much kinder with their 2022 assessment, grading Maye as the 26th-best safety.

The former second-round pick had five up-and-down seasons with the Jets to begin his career. Maye was a top-20 safety between 2018 and 2020, including that latter season where PFF ranked him fifth at his position. However, before he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in 2021, Maye graded as one of the league’s worst safeties through six games.

Of course, the Dolphins won’t be nearly as dependent on Maye. The team brought in another former AFC East safety in Jordan Poyer, pairing the veteran with Jevon Holland in the starting lineup. The rest of the team’s depth at the position consists of Elijah Campbell, sixth-round rookie Patrick McMorris, and UDFAs Mark Perry and Jordan Colbert, meaning Maye should be in line for a role as a key backup.

Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa: There’s Been “A Lot Of Progress” On Extension Talks

While Tua Tagovailoa was in attendance for the start of Dolphins OTAs, there’s still uncertainty surrounding his extension talks with the organization. We learned recently that the front office had indeed submitted an offer to the quarterback, but the player’s no-show from offseason workouts indicated that the offer was rejected.

[RELATED: Tua Tagovailoa In Attendance For Dolphins’ OTAs; QB Rejected Extension Offer]

Despite both sides expressing interest in speedy negotiations, Tagovailoa is still sitting with only a year remaining on his contract. However, the quarterback did express some optimism in completing a deal while speaking with reporters yesterday.

“Well, I think there’s been a lot of progress at this point,” Tagovailoa said (via Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network). “From where we started, there’s been a lot of progress. Now, you can ask the other question — then why aren’t we seeing an agreement? Well, that’s the tough part about it. That’s why it’s business. That’s why you’ve got one side and the other trying to work to meet in the middle.”

While Tagovailoa described himself as “antsy” as he awaits a new contract, he said he’s not “frustrated” or “concerned.” The QB did acknowledge that he’s more than aware of the rising QB market, including Jared Goff‘s recent contract with the Lions.

“Well, I’ll tell you one thing, the market is the market,” Tagovailoa said (via Omar Kelly of the Miami Herald). “If we didn’t have a market, then none of that would matter, it would just be an organizational thing. It didn’t matter if that guy got paid that because it’s an organizational thing. So that’s what I would say — the market is the market. That’s it.”

Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says there’s “some optimism” that the two sides will agree to a deal and it’s simply “a matter of time.” Rapoport notes that Tagovailoa has done everything he can do to establish himself as a franchise QB, including playing a full season and leading his team to the postseason. The top of the quarterback market surged past $50MM per year last offseason, and Tagovailoa’s attendance at OTAs should signal that the front office is willing to hit that mark.

In terms of on-the-field developments, NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe reports that Tua lost between 10 to 15 pounds this offseason. That brings the QB’s playing weight down to around 220 pounds.

Tyreek Hill Addresses Contract Situation

Although Tyreek Hill‘s four-year, $120MM contract held the belt for most lucrative wide receiver deal for 25 months, this offseason’s developments have made the contract look Dolphins-friendly.

Prior to Amon-Ra St. Brown, A.J. Brown and Justin Jefferson raising the AAV bar past Hill’s $30MM number and the Dolphins giving Jaylen Waddle more in total guarantees compared to their WR1’s contract, Miami’s future Hall of Fame pass catcher had been angling for an adjustment to his deal. The backloaded structure of Hill’s contract came up during the Jefferson-Vikings negotiations, and the younger wideout superstar managed to avoid the issue the Miami-based performer is navigating.

Jefferson’s guarantee numbers lap the WR field, with his fully guaranteed figure ($88.7MM) checking in $36MM north of Hill’s previous highwater mark. The Minnesota standout’s contract structure does not feature a phony final year to prop up the AAV figure the way Hill’s Dolphins pact does. Hill’s agent (Drew Rosenhaus) has communicated with Dolphins GM Chris Grier on this matter, but with the All-Pro talent signed through 2026, the team does not exactly have to act now.

About the contract situation, I’m going to let my agent do his job,” Hill said, via NFL.com’s Cameron Wolfe. “That’s his job, man. His job is to get great at that. My job is obviously to come out here and help this team win. … We want to make sure it benefits both sides. I want to be able to help the team as much as I can. That’s as much as I can say about it.”

Hill, 30, added his top priority is making sure he will be a “Dolphin for life.” Offering glowing sentiments about his situation in Miami, Hill does not appear ready to force the issue just yet. His contract issue comes as the Dolphins are negotiating a blockbuster extension with Tagovailoa. As this situation plays out, Mike McDaniel said (via ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Beasley) Hill did not participate in team drills at this week’s minicamp.

It will be interesting to see, however, if Hill’s tone shifts should the Dolphins continue to hold their top player to a contract that includes three more seasons. Teams have held comparable players to club-friendly terms in the not-so-distant past. The Steelers did not relent on a third Antonio Brown contract until his walk year in 2017, and the Patriots never gave Rob Gronkowski a third contract, keeping him on the six-year deal he signed in 2012.

Hill made his way to South Florida after Davante Adams‘ Raiders contract prompted a course change during talks on a third Hill-Chiefs contract. While Hill said at the time he was not asking to be the NFL’s highest-paid receiver, the Chiefs bailed upon learning the speed merchant’s new asking price. The trade became mutually beneficial, with the draft capital obtained helping Kansas City win back-to-back Super Bowls and Hill elevating his profile with consecutive first-team All-Pro seasons while boosting Tua Tagovailoa‘s career in the process.

This Dolphins regime did cave to Xavien Howard earlier this decade. A year after giving Byron Jones a then-cornerback-record contract, the Dolphins dealt with Howard displeasure regarding a deal he signed in 2019. Four years remained on Howard’s deal when Grier authorized a reworking, and the GM greenlit a new contract that brought $50.7MM in new money months later. This process has probably already come up as the Hill camp presents a case for an adjusted contract, and after back-to-back 1,700-yard seasons, the eight-year veteran can certainly cite his impact on Tagovailoa as a reason he deserves to be paid in step with the new WR market.

Hill’s guarantees run out after 2024, and the 2026 season features an inflated base salary ($43.9MM) that almost definitely will not be paid. While Hill’s age and the duration of his contract provide some complications on his path to an adjusted accord, the Howard precedent — and perhaps the Dolphins wanting to finalize this before a CeeDee Lamb extension impacts the market further — may lead to a near-future resolution.

Dolphins Sign Five Rookies

The Dolphins finally inked some of their rookies to contracts. The team announced that they’ve signed five of their 2024 draft picks:

These five rookies kick off the organization’s draft-class signings. First-round edge defender Chop Robinson and second-round offensive tackle Patrick Paul remain unsigned.

Considering how much the Dolphins have gotten out of their running backs in recent years, Jaylen Wright is certainly an intriguing addition. The Tennessee prospect took it to another level this past season, finishing with 1,154 yards from scrimmage. The rookie has an uphill battle for playing time behind the likes of Raheem Mostert, De’Von Achane, and Jeff Wilson, but he could easily slide up the depth chart if/when the team faces injuries.

Patrick McMorris is another prospect who could see a role in 2024. After two standout seasons at SDSU, the safety continued his production after transferring to California, finishing with 90 tackles and eight passes defended. The rookie will compete with Elijah Campbell for any leftover snaps at the safety position.

Tyreek Hill Aiming For New Contract

JUNE 3: While speaking about Hill’s contract status with WSVN7’s Josh Moser, agent Drew Rosenhaus said he has a “fluid line of communication” with the Dolphins’ front office (video link). Justin Jefferson‘s Vikings extension has, to no surprise, moved the top of the receiver market even higher. Hill will no doubt look to take advantage of that as talks pertaining to a new deal take place.

MAY 30: The Dolphins have acted early with Jaylen Waddle, making the younger of their two 1,000-yard wide receivers the NFL’s fourth-highest-paid pass catcher. Already employing the No. 3 player on that list, the Dolphins look to have a bit of an issue on their hands.

Tyreek Hill has used the Miami portion of his career to cement his status as a surefire Hall of Famer, separating from Patrick Mahomes and thriving on his own. The historically elite speed merchant has posted back-to-back 1,700-yard seasons. While Waddle is younger, Hill has worked as the Dolphins’ clear-cut No. 1 target during his two South Florida seasons.

[RELATED: Hill Wants To Finish Career With Dolphins]

The wideout market has caught up to Hill, whose $30MM-per-year deal paced the field for more than two years. Agreed to in March 2022, Hill’s four-year, $120MM Dolphins extension included a phony final year that calls for a $43.9MM base salary — one that almost definitely will not be paid. The guarantees in Hill’s current pact run out after the 2024 season. Prior to Waddle’s $28.25MM-AAV payday, A.J. Brown and Amon-Ra St. Brown passed Hill for per-year value. Other wideouts have scored better-looking contracts since Hill’s extension, even if they did not hit the $30MM-AAV number.

Prior to St. Brown and Brown’s accords, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio indicates Hill has been pursuing a new contract. Hill approached the Dolphins about a new deal following the 2023 season, and Florio adds the ninth-year veteran’s efforts increased when the Eagles handed Brown a second extension — worth a market-setting $32MM per year. Like Hill, Brown’s previous contract was signed in spring 2022 and ran through 2026. As a rule, teams steer clear of major contract adjustments with three seasons remaining. But Hill’s camp has undoubtedly pointed to his production surpassing Brown’s.

While giving the Chiefs a downfield dimension they have lacked since making the trade, Hill eclipsed 1,300 yards in a season once in six Kansas City slates. The Davante Adams extension changed Hill’s asking price in 2022, and the Chiefs shifted from Hill extension talks to a trade and have since won two more Super Bowls without a No. 1-caliber wideout. The Dolphins have seen Hill elevate Tua Tagovailoa‘s production considerably, and no wideout’s yardage comes within 400 yards of Hill’s total (3,509) over the past two years. Granted, Justin Jefferson — the NFL’s runaway yardage leader from 2021-22 — missed much of last season due to injury. Jefferson’s Vikings negotiations also figure to motivate Hill.

As Brown could factor in more prime years into negotiations with the Eagles, Jefferson is going into his age-25 season. The Minnesota-based wideout is poised to eclipse Brown’s new AAV benchmark ($32MM) by a notable margin. Having turned 30 earlier this offseason and being signed through 2026, Hill does not stand in a similarly strong negotiating position.

Already playing two seasons on a contract that included $52.5MM fully guaranteed — still the league WR standard in that category — Hill has done well on the contract front. This is Hill’s third NFL contract; he scored the second one — a three-year, $54MM pact — shortly after the NFL did not suspend him following a child-abuse scandal that had him away from the Chiefs for several weeks. This era’s premier long-range playmaker has already earned $93MM over the course of his career.

The Dolphins, who are negotiating what stands to be a franchise-record extension with Tagovailoa, have made a longer-term commitment to Waddle. The team could move money around in Hill’s contract and/or add incentives to the deal, but with its top receiver signed for three more seasons, Miami can also stand down here. Hill’s current deal gives the team flexibility beyond 2024, though he certainly does not profile as a cut candidate following this season. It will be interesting to see how he proceeds if/once Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb, and possibly Brandon Aiyuk, secure market-shifting extensions as this offseason progresses.