Miami Dolphins Secure Phillips, Waddle Through ’25; Now It’s Time To Extend Them

The Miami Dolphins were right to exercise the fifth-year options of Jaelan Phillips and Jaylen Waddle, but work still remains.

We won’t know whether Chris Grier’s 2024 draft class was good or bad for some time.

But the Miami Dolphins told us with their wallets Monday what they think about their 2021 first-rounders.

The Dolphins, as promised, exercised the fifth-year options of wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and pass rusher Jaelan Phillips.

But that shouldn’t be the extent of each player’s contract adjustment this offseason. It’s time to extend them both — or risk losing Waddle and Phillips like they just lost Christian Wilkins and Robert Hunt.

Miami Dolphins Exercise Jaelan Phillips, Jaylen Waddle’s Fifth-Year Options

Phillips and Waddle both would have been in contract years had the Dolphins not picked up those options, which is a mechanism available to teams with any first-round picks prior to their fourth years.

The Dolphins made it official ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

Waddle will now make $15.6 million in 2025, while Phillips’ new 2025 salary is $13.3 million.

That’s great value, even given Phillips’ injury concerns. He’s still just five months removed from surgery to repair a torn Achilles, and Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel was cagey Saturday when asked if Phillips would participate in any on-field activities this spring.

“I’m excited about where [he’s] at today, and I’m very, very encouraged for the prospect of [his] tomorrow,” McDaniel said. “I’m telling you, I don’t do timelines. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t make sense. It’s like a hex — it used to be you put pressure on a date, and you wish it not to exist, so I’m not doing that.”

But the cost of keeping him even with that uncertainty was far lower than the cost of losing him in free agency next offseason.

Yet the fifth-year option pickups are just a Band-Aid.

And the longer the Dolphins put off working out extensions for Waddle (who has 251 catches for 3,385 yards and 18 touchdowns in his three-year career) and Phillips (52 quarterback hits in 42 games), the harder it gets to keep them long-term.

Twelve pass rushers earn an average of at least $20 million per year, and that number is only going to go up as the salary cap continues to expand.

KEEP READING: 5 Most Interesting 2024 Miami Dolphins UDFAs

Waddle’s friend and former teammate DeVonta Smith just helped reset the receiver market by agreeing to a three-year, $75 million extension. When it’s Waddle’s turn to cash in, he won’t agree to less than that — that’s for sure.

In the next two years, Waddle and Phillips are going to get paid. The only question is whether they get those contracts from the Dolphins or someone else.

The longer they wait, the more likely it’s the latter.

Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast

Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Dolphins Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Dolphins Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

Related Articles