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Randy Mueller, the 2000 NFL Executive of the Year, brings over 30 years of experience in the football business, including stints as the general manager of Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins. With Heavy, Mueller breaks down the NFL from a front office perspective. You can follow Randy on Twitter @RandyMueller_
Tyreek Hill can’t stand prosperity.
The former Kansas City Chiefs big-play receiver is headed to the Miami Dolphins in a trade that nets the Chiefs five draft choices over the next two years. It was all about the money for Tyreek, right?
The Las Vegas Raiders may have delivered the blow that finally levels the power structure to the rest of the AFC West. It’s not the size of the splash but the ripple effects it has created. Davante Adams’ newly created five-year, $140 million contract is having ripple effects on the receiver market and specifically on the team-building model of the arch-rival Chiefs.
The Raiders may go from the most hated within the division to the heroes overnight now that Hill is in Miami. The Cheetah has the one skill set that can’t be developed, and maybe, the one that can’t be duplicated at his level.
If you surveyed the league’s general managers, my guess is Hill would come back as the leading vote-getter in a “league’s fastest man” poll.
The element of speed changes the way defenses are designed. It changes the way people defend you, even if you never throw said speed the ball. It opens up the run game with anything but single safety coverage and it allows a softer box versus the run. It’s what gets picked first in every NFL college draft and usually what gives a player two (and sometimes three) bites at the financial apple during his career.
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Money the Driving Factor for Both the Chiefs & Hill
With his current contract negotiations at a standstill in KC, the Chiefs said enough is enough. They chose the same route as the Green Bay Packers not being willing to commit that much of the salary cap pie to a single receiver.
No doubt, it’s all about money for Hill and the Chiefs both. Hill carried a $21.8 million cap charge in 2022 according to Over The Cap but it also comes with a $20.4 million cap savings once this move goes through.
The Adams contract with Vegas changed the playing field for all involved — including Hill who agreed to a four-year, $120 million contract extension with his new team, as reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport.
It also brings with it a cautionary tale of “be careful what you wish for.” If winning matters to Hill that much, he should have worked it out in Kansas City where he played with one of the league’s most talented passers in Patrick Mahomes.
Trading that for a new world in Miami with a lightning rod for criticism in QB Tua Tagovailoa and a first-time head coach in Mike McDaniel is risky at best.
The New York Jets were also in the mix but South Beach (and its 0% Florida state income tax) was just too enticing. The pressure has just been ratcheted up for Tagovailoa now as well. His ball control, quick-hitting skill set has just been challenged again, this time by his own teams’ biggest addition before they have even taken a snap together.
The other element that makes it risky is Hill in South Florida. Hmm, what could go wrong there?
The Dolphins’ $75 million signing of Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead, formally of the New Orleans Saints and regarded as one of the best at his position, will be crucial in how this story plays out for the Fins as well.
Chiefs Will Face an Adjustment Period on Offense
KC now has to reinvent themselves on offense with lesser-known receivers and without the element of fear that Hill brought for defenses. With the likes of JuJu Smith Schuster, Mecole Hardman and a mix of other unproven players, it might just result in finally bringing the Chiefs back to the pack.
The draft picks in return for Hill — a 1st, 2nd and 4th-rounder in April’s 2022 draft plus a 4th and 6th-rounder in 2023 — should help, but this will come with a period of adjustment and a learning curve the majority of the time.
Young and cheap is the new Chiefs direction.
Having spent 27 years of my career in the AFC West, I can promise you there has never been a Raiders move so celebrated by the other teams within the division.
There were rumbles that the distance between the Chiefs and their division rivals had been closing with the additions of Khalil Mack, Russell Wilson, Chandler Jones and J.C. Jackson, but no move had more effect on the race for the AFC West than the addition by Las Vegas of Adams and the ripple effects it has caused.
Let the parties begin.