Rarely do NFL fans and analysts get a trade that shocks everyone involved and makes the NFL Universe feel like it’s standing still. In March of 2022, the Kansas City Chiefs sent shockwaves across the NFL when they dealt alpha receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins for a host of draft picks.
The idea of the Chiefs trading Hill away seemed far-fetched given how inseparable The Cheetah appeared to be from the Chiefs’ Big Three, consisting of himself, QB Patrick Mahomes, and TE Travis Kelce. Hill was asking the Chiefs franchise for a contract extension and more money, and when Kansas City would not oblige, they dealt the speedster to South Beach.
Tyreek Hill Trade Details
The Chiefs received:
- 2022 first-round pick
- 2022 second-round pick
- 2022 fourth-round pick
- 2023 fourth-round pick
- 2023 sixth-round pick
The Chiefs maneuvered around the NFL Draft using the draft capital they received in the Hill trade. Following subsequent trades involving those picks, the Chiefs ultimately selected Washington CB Trent McDuffie, Western Michigan WR Skyy Moore, Kentucky IOL Darian Kinnard, SMU WR Rashee Rice, and Texas DT Keondre Coburn and still have a remaining 2024 fifth-rounder they acquired.
The Dolphins received:
- WR Tyreek Hill
Why Did Kansas City Trade Hill?
According to the WR himself, Hill was asking for a contract extension. In fact, Cheetah wanted to be one of the highest-paid receivers in the league. With so many stars on the roster that would require massive contracts (e.g. Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes), the Chiefs opted to spend their funds elsewhere. Hill recently commented on his departure from Kansas City and arrival in South Beach.
In an age where player access is at an unparalleled high, Hill provided the nitty-gritty details of the entire contract and eventual trade process with the team.
“My agent was trying to bait KC into giving me a contract. The idea was to never leave KC. He was on the phone with [Chiefs GM] Brett Veach. He was like, ‘Veach, look. We’re going to be forced to ask for a trade if you don’t give ‘Reek a contract.’ [Mahomes] called me first.
“Me and Pat got on the phone. ‘’Reek, we’re going to take care of you brah.’ Then Andy [Reid] called me. ‘Yeah, we’re going to take care of you.’
“I said, ‘I’m cool with that. It can be $24 million, as long as the money sounds right, $25 million, as long as the guarantees sound right. That’s all I want.’ The final offer was close to like, $58 million guaranteed. ‘Man, we can’t sign that.’
“That’s when the trade began to come into Drew [Rosenhaus]’s head. Miami called. They offered. Then the [New York] Jets called, and they offered. Miami offered like 70 the first day. The Jets offered like 68. And then the Jets came back and offered like 76 guaranteed.
“The more I began to talk, my mom was like, ‘You need to think about them state taxes, too.’ I talked to Zach Wilson. I’m a fan of Zach Wilson. It was just like, ‘Man, my dream is here, though. In Miami.’ So then we just signed with Miami, and everything’s great.”
Kansas City signed Mahomes to a massive extension and is paying top dollar to the future Hall of Fame TE Kelce, so investing a significant chunk of its remaining salary cap on Hill would lead to other weak parts on the roster. There is only so much money to go around, and so much cap space teams can devote to their skill players.
Suffice it to say, many around the league were stunned by the revelation that the Chiefs would deal their All-Pro receiver. One player who may have benefited more than anyone was Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa, and the Miami signal-caller shared his excitement and disbelief.
“I didn’t think it was real.”
Running back Raheem Mostert immediately went to social media to welcome Hill to the team, highlighting the one thing we all knew would be a problem for Miami’s opponents — speed. “Welcome to the squad @cheetah! The speed is going to be crazy!”
Who Won the Hill Trade?
The Chiefs won the Super Bowl in 2022, so it is hard to gauge them as losers in the deal. The Chiefs have had to alter their offense significantly since the Hill trade. Kansas City’s offense was as explosive as any in the league, with Mahomes and Hill connected at the hip.
The Chiefs have used a volume-based approach to replace Hill. The Chiefs have used second-round selections in back-to-back drafts to select Skyy Moore and Rashee Rice. Moore has been disappointing in his second season. Rice is coming along during his rookie campaign, but neither player offers the dynamism Hill does.
Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt discussed who he believed won the trade and seemed to have the same opinion as a lot of people.
“I think that was a trade that worked out well for both parties,” Hunt said via team transcript. “Obviously, Tyreek is an incredible player and has done very well in his time with the Dolphins.”
Hill is one of one. The Chiefs will never be able to replace a player like him, and they likely knew that when they traded him away. Miami coveted his unique explosive playmaking ability, and the pairing of him and Tagovailoa has been as prolific as any in football. Hill is on pace for 2,000 receiving yards and has transformed the Miami offense.
The Hill trade goes down as a rare win-win for both teams. How much of a win for the Dolphins remains to be seen, though, as they aim to make a run in the NFL playoffs with Hill as the catalyst.