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Tyreek Hill’s announcement confirms NY Jets won by missing out

Tyreek Hill, NY Jets, Dolphins, Trade, Retire
Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Getty Images

Tyreek Hill shocked the NFL world on Wednesday

In somewhat shocking news, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill stated on Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City that he plans to retire after the 2025 season.

Hill, who has logged seven seasons in the NFL, said he’s “going for 10 [career seasons]”.

“I’m gonna finish out this contract with the Dolphins and then I’m gonna call it quits,” Hill said. “I want to go into the business side. I want to do so many things in my life, bro.”

While Hill’s contract with Miami doesn’t actually expire until after the 2026 season, his contract number in 2026 is downright absurd at $56.3 million, and the Dolphins can cut him to free themselves of $45 million while taking a dead money charge of $11.3 million. Realistically speaking, the 2025 season represents the final year Hill would play on his current contract. The 2026 season was added to spread out Hill’s signing bonus.

Hill turned 29 years old in March. He’ll still be only 31 years old in 2025, so retirement at that point would be quite early for a player who appears to be on a Hall of Fame trajectory.

Regardless, this announcement makes one thing quite clear: It was a blessing in disguise when the New York Jets failed to outduel Miami for Hill’s services in 2022.

After whiffing on Hill as their hopeful No. 1 receiver, the Jets pivoted by drafting Garrett Wilson with the 10th overall pick – who proved to be an instant star.

Wilson led all rookies with 83 receptions and 1,103 receiving yards – both marks stand as the 10th-best by a rookie WR in the Super Bowl era (since 1966). He joined Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Michael Thomas, and Odell Beckham Jr. as the only rookie WRs of the past decade to eclipse 80 receptions and 1,100 yards. And Wilson did it all despite dealing with some of the worst quarterback play in the NFL.

Now that we know Hill only plans to give the Dolphins three more seasons, it appears the Jets will be much better off in the long-term with Wilson as their No. 1 wideout.

Wilson’s rookie contract (including the fifth-year option) ties him to New York through the 2026 season. After that, it seems likely Wilson will sign an extension of at least four years. In all likelihood, he could end up signing with the Jets through 2030 or even 2031, allowing him to play up to 10 seasons in New York compared to Hill’s projected four seasons in Miami.

And let’s not forget: It’s not as if this discussion is merely Hill-vs.-Wilson. It’s Hill-vs.-Wilson and everything else the Jets would not have had if they acquired Hill.

Wilson’s efforts garnered him Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. However, through seven weeks of the 2022 season, the favorite for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award was actually Wilson’s lower-drafted teammate, running back Breece Hall. A season-ending ACL injury is the only thing that stopped Hall from winning the award.

Hall was drafted with the 36th overall pick in the second round after the Jets coupled the 38th overall pick with the 146th overall pick (fifth round) to trade up two spots and ensure his services.

That 38th overall pick would have gone to Kansas City in the Jets’ proposed Hill trade. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jets were ready to send two second-round picks and one third-round pick to the Chiefs for Hill – the 35th, 38th, and 69th overall picks in the 2022 draft. Hall would have never become a Jet if Hill were acquired.

With the other two picks in the proposed Hill package, the Jets were able to form a trade package that allowed them to move up and nab edge rusher Jermaine Johnson as their third pick of the first round. New York paired the 35th and 69th picks in a trade-up move that placed them back in the first round, where they used the 26th overall pick to select Johnson.

In the end, the Jets’ failure to land Hill netted them arguably the two best offensive rookies in the NFL and another first-round talent in Johnson.

It is certainly true that Hill – who had 119 receptions for 1,710 yards in 2022, both second in the NFL – was a more dynamic player than Wilson in 2022 and will be considered the better player until proven otherwise. But considering Wilson did what he did as a 22-year-old rookie while Hill is approaching 30, Wilson is trending upward while Hill’s downward trend may begin soon. In 2023, it seems fair to expect the gap between these two players to close significantly, especially with Aaron Rodgers (likely) coming to New York.

It’s also worth noting that Hill’s game is extremely reliant on his speed and athleticism, which makes him more prone to being hampered by aging than the average receiver. He hasn’t lost a step just yet, but father time maintains his undefeated record.

The three rookies were not the only fruits of missing on Hill. Additionally, not trading for Hill provided ample long-term cap savings for the Jets.

Missing on Hill didn’t affect the short-term cap sheet all too much, as Hill’s 2022 cap hit was only $6.5 million and his 2023 cap hit will be $12.8 million. But it’s in 2024 and beyond when the Jets will benefit, as Hill’s cap hits will skyrocket once he turns 30.

Hill will have a $31.0 million cap hit in 2024 and a $34.2 million in 2025. These huge long-term cap numbers could have prevented the Jets from re-signing some of their draft picks to extensions in the future. It also could have prevented them from making the many back-loading contract restructures this offseason that have allowed them to clear immediate space for Aaron Rodgers and other free agents. Most of the Jets’ 2022 free agent signings were backloaded as well, so they likely would not have been able to sign some of those players.

Ultimately, it looks like the Jets are better off without Hill. That’s not to say it’s a slam-dunk victory for New York, as Hill remains a dominant receiver who alters opposing gameplans like no other non-quarterback in the league. Miami would do the trade again with zero regrets. Wilson still has a long way to go until he proves himself to be on par with Hill.

But, again, it’s not about Hill-vs.-Wilson – it’s about the big picture.

Even if Hill remains ahead of Wilson on the WR leaderboard, I think the Jets would prefer to have Wilson for potentially up to a decade rather than four years of Hill, in addition to Breece Hall, Jermaine Johnson, and whatever players they have been or will be able to sign using the enormous chunk of long-term cap space they did not have to allocate to Hill.

For now, it seems like both teams won in this scenario. Hill gave Miami one of the greatest seasons by an individual player in franchise history. We’ll see if he can stay at that level over the next three years. Meanwhile, the Jets appear to be in a much healthier long-term position without Hill, thanks entirely to the elite potential showcased by Wilson in his rookie year.

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Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 year ago

I like the broader perspective here. Wilson should still be on pace with Rodgers at the helm. What worries me is that there are rumors that the 49ers could swoop in and get Rodgers from Green Bay. I hope the Jets can get a deal done sooner than later.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mike Palazzo