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Dolphins 2020 Wide Receivers Hot Seat: Volume 1

Credit: Eric Espada-Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins continue to overhaul their roster as part of the rebuild. In our pre-draft wide receivers review, we pointed out the many questions at the wideout spot for the Dolphins.

  • Will DeVante Parker continue to play like a true #1 receiver?
  • Can Preston Williams pick up where he left off following his ACL injury?
  • Can Jakeem Grant expand his role beyond special teams? 
  • Will Albert Wilson live up to the investment or even make the team? 

Based on these questions we predicted that Miami would add some competition at wide receiver, and they did.

Un-drafted Free Agents 

Kirk Merritt – Arkansas State 

Matt Cole – McKendree University 

Draft

Malcolm Perry, Navy (Listed as RB, but can play WR)

Here is a temperature check on the seats of Miami’s wide receivers.

🧊 Ice Cold – Player has nothing to worry about. The job is theirs.

😓 Heating Up – The job is theirs to lose but they are starting to feel the heat.

🔥 Hard Rock Stadium No Shade in September Hot! Job is as good as gone! 

DeVante Parker  🧊 🧊 🧊

After being drafted in the 1st round in 2015, Parker finally had a breakout year in 2019. Last year was also the first time in Parker’s career where he was healthy for an entire season. 

By the numbers, Parker was one of the top wide receivers in the league and probably the best in AFC last season. Parker’s touchdowns total ranked him 3rd in the NFL last season. He also ranked 1st in the AFC among wide receivers in receiving yards with 1,202. 

Brian Flores and the new Dolphins regime believed they could get Parker to perform. They signed Parker to a ‘prove it’ two-year contract when they took over. Parker proved it and was later rewarded with a 4-year, $30.5M contract, including a $9.5 signing bonus and $21.8M guaranteed. With 14 draft picks the Dolphins were not tempted by any of the top wideouts in a deep 2020 NFL draft. At this moment Parker is as safe as it gets.

Preston Williams  🧊

The Preston Williams story is well known now. Un-drafted free agent whose draft stock fell because of off the field issues in college. However, Williams showed that he had talent in college with 1,345 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final year before declaring for the draft. The Dolphins took a chance on him and the early returns were good. 

Williams’s season ended in week 9 with an ACL injury. Before the injury, he was enjoying a decent season following up on an impressive pre-season. In fact, the last time Williams was on the field, he had five catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Williams will be provided with the opportunity to see if he can pick up where he left off coming back from his injury. 

Albert Wilson 🧊

A week ago Albert Wilson’s hot seat status would have been 🔥 🔥 🔥. Wilson’s contract was going to account for $10.8 million against the cap in 2020. After having a good year initially as Jarvis Landry’s replacement in 2018, Wilson went down with a hip injury. In 2019 Wilson got off to a slow start although he started to show flashes of his former self late in the season. 

The saving grace for Wilson is his restructured contract. On May 5th, he signed a one-year, $3M contract reducing his cap hit to $4.3M. By doing so, Wilson removed himself from most likely to be cut rumors. While he is safe now, odds are this is his last year as a Dolphin. If he has a bad year the Dolphins’ decision to move on is easy. 

If he has a great year then it’s a win-win for Wilson and the Dolphins. Miami has been managing it’s salary cap well recently. Considering this, Miami will not be offering top wideout money to Wilson. His performance would allow him to seek a big contract with another team in free agency. Miami will wish him well with hopes of getting a compensatory pick in the future. With another year of 10+ draft picks in 2021, Miami can find a replacement in the draft. 

Jakeem Grant 🧊/😓

Jakeem Grant’s seat would be hotter if Miami hadn’t just signed him to a 4-year $19.7M extension in 2019. However, Grant should still feel a tad bit uncomfortable. 2018 and 2019 both ended with Jakeem Grant on the injured reserve list. While being a special teams standout, Grant has struggled to be a consistent factor on offense. Miami has added players this year that can fill roles on special teams. If any of those additions can make the final roster and also contribute on offense, Grant could be eventually pushed out of the door.

Allen Hurns 😓/🔥

Allen Hurns joined the Miami Dolphins in 2019 after being the odd man out in Dallas. Hurns could find himself as the odd man out once again. In 14 games last season, Hurns had 32 receptions and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for Hurns, he will have to thoroughly beat out the newcomers and the guys at the bottom of the depth chart to earn his spot. The newer guys have the luxury of a practice squad designation. That will not be the case for Hurns. 

Matt Cole 😓

Matt Cole A.K.A. Prospect X was picked up by the Dolphins as an un-drafted free agent. Cole played for Division II school McKendree University and was not invited to the NFL Draft Combine. Cole still got the attention of draft scouts by running a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash and posting a 37.5-inch vertical jump at his pro day. This ultimately was not enough to get him drafted. But that could spell good news for Miami. 

The 5’9’’ 197-pound wideout led his college team in catches (43), yards (939), and touchdowns (12) in his final year. He also was a standout as a punt returner and special teams player. Cole is the type of player that could displace Jakeem Grant. As Cole’s seat cools, Grant’s will heat up. For now though, as an undrafted free agent, he will have to fight to make it on the final roster. 

Kirk Merritt 😓

The 6’0” 215-pound wideout from Arkansas State was not invited to the NFL Draft Combine. However, he was absolutely impressive at his pro day. 

  • 4.02 in the 20-yard shuttle (1st among combine WRs)
  • 45.5-inch vertical jump (1st among combine WRs)
  • 23 bench press reps (1st among combine WRs)
  • 4.33 in the 40-yard dash (2nd among combine WRs)
  • 11’3” broad jump (3rd among combine WRs)

Merritt had 70 catches for 806 yards and 12 TDs last season. In 2018, he caught 83 passes for 1005 yards and seven touchdowns. Similar to Preston Williams, Merritt had some off the field issues that caused his draft stock to fall. Merritt’s current seat status is based on the fact that he will have to impress through the preseason in order to make the team. If he does the Dolphins might have struck gold two years straight in finding gifted wideouts after the draft.

Mack Hollins 🔥 🔥 🔥

Mack Hollins was claimed off waivers last December to provide depth to the wide receiver group heavily affected by injuries. In four games Hollins did not register a stat. He is in the final year of his contract and releasing him will not result in any dead salary cap money. Barring a spectacular turnaround, he is as good as gone. 

Isaiah Ford 🧊

Isiah Ford was drafted in the 7th round in 2017 by the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins saw his potential and knew he would need time to develop. He was promoted to the active roster for 8 games last season. In March, Ford signed a 1-year contract with the Dolphins worth $750K. Ford will get one more shot to prove he belongs in the NFL and on the Miami Dolphins. 

Ricardo Louis 🔥 🔥 🔥

Ricardo Louis has an injury history stemming back to his last tenure with the Cleveland Browns. Louis was signed by the Dolphins in April 2019 and in May 2019 he was placed on injured reserve ending his 2019 season. If Louis has a poor performance this offseason, he could be losing his job. 

Gary Jennings 🔥 🔥 🔥

Gary Jennings was claimed off of waivers by Miami in November. He was placed on injured reserve on November 20, 2019. Jennings has a long road to making the final roster for the Miami Dolphins in 2020.

For more Miami Dolphins Football, like us on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @TheJamieBahamas

Lead Writer for 305Sports.net primarily covering the Miami Dolphins. Jamie is a lifelong sports fan and a student of the game. Jamie religiously attends Dolphins Home Games and considers Miami the coolest city on the planet. You can follow Jamie on Twitter @TheJamieBahamas and Instagram @JamieBahamas

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