The Miami Dolphins made a massive splash by acquiring Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs. Miami gave up a package of five draft picks to land the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver. The front office then showed its commitment to Hill by signing him to a new four-year, $120 million contract. The deal makes him the highest-paid wideout in the NFL.
Anyone who watches football knows how dangerous Hill is with the football in his hands. He’s a welcomed addition to the Dolphins offense. However, when the former Chiefs star spoke with general manager Chris Grier upon arrival, he had a special request — to return punts.
Tyreek Hill requested the Dolphins to let him return punts
Tyreek Hill is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL today. There’s no doubt about it. His combination of speed, strength, and athleticism could make him a dangerous threat in any offense. The Douglas, Georgia, native doesn’t want to limit himself to only playing offense, though.
According to Hal Habib of The Palm Beach Post, Hill notified general manager Chris Grier of his desire to return punts for the Miami Dolphins during the 2022 season.
Hill enjoyed plenty of success returning kicks in his rookie season with the Kansas City Chiefs. He returned 39 punts for 592 yards and two touchdowns in 2016. He added 384 kick return yards and one score on 14 attempts.
Andy Reid didn’t use Hill as heavily as a rookie, but he still made his presence felt. The West Alabama product caught 61 passes for 593 yards and six touchdowns on 83 targets. His role obviously expanded, and he returned fewer kicks as a result. Hill will now assume the No. 1 receiver role in Miami.
It will be interesting to see if the Dolphins concede to Tyreek Hill’s wishes, as he wants to turn back the clock.
Why Miami could deny the Pro Bowl wideout his dream
As dangerous a playmaker as Tyreek Hill is, it’s not exactly a bad idea for him to return punts. He’s electric with the ball in his hands, and his speed and shiftiness make him extremely difficult to tackle in space. Also, the Dolphins paid him $120 million, so they’ll want to get him the ball as much as possible.
On the flip side, since Hill will be making so much money, Miami wants him to be available.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, held a briefing on health and safety during the league’s annual meetings. He touched on injuries during punt plays.
“I think the injuries that we see that are obviously most striking are the lower-extremity strains — again, hamstrings, quad strains, ACL injuries, and of course concussions,” Sills said.
Chris Grier respects Hill’s desire to return punts, but he also knows he has other guys who have shown they can make plays in that department.
“We’re fortunate with him, [Jevon] Holland, [Jaylen] Waddle,” said Grier. “We have guys that can do it. They’re all big contributors on their side of the ball as well. And we also have a couple of other guys that can return. So we’re not really worried about the return game.”
While it wasn’t a definitive answer by Grier, he also didn’t completely shut the idea down.
How dangerous can Hill be in the Dolphins offense?
The Miami Dolphins surrendered a lot of draft capital to land Tyreek Hill. However, he has the ability to make the gamble worth their while.
Hill is as explosive as it gets at wide receiver. He’s only 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, but he packs a punch and makes up for it with his speed and quickness. The sixth-year wideout always seems to be open, and new head coach Mike McDaniel can’t wait to work with him.
McDaniel served as the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator in 2021. Working alongside Kyle Shanahan, he helped Deebo Samuel enjoy a career year. He could potentially use Hill in a similar fashion, finding creative ways to get him the ball.
Hill has had the luxury of playing most of his career with Patrick Mahomes. Tua Tagovailoa is a massive step down. However, having a receiver of Hill’s caliber could help in the young quarterback’s development. The Dolphins offense has some nice pieces in place, including Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, DeVante Parker, and Cedrick Wilson. But Hill will be the focal point.
Miami could be getting a motivated Tyreek Hill who wants to prove he can be one of the best without the Chiefs.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference