As a player enters the NFL they do so as either a draft pick or an undrafted player. They are paid based on their draft status. Yet another scale. Years of a contract are slotted based on where a player is drafted. First rounders have a 5th year option while everyone else has four-year deals. Undrafted free agents typically sign three-year deals at the most.
Turnover at this stages is high as teams sign and release players all season long in this age group.
The Dolphins currently have 29 players in this age bracket making up the biggest portion of their roster. Of those 29 players 10 are full-time starters.
Laremy Tunsil – rookie contract
Jay Ajayi – rookie contract
Xavien Howard – rookie contract
Matt Darr – special teams
Andrew Franks – special teams
Ja’Wuan James – rookie contract
Jarvis Landry – rookie contract
DeVante Parker – rookie contract
Kenny Stills – impending free agent
Dion Sims – impending free agent
The Dolphins are starting to get better production from other players still on their rookie deals such as Bobby McCain and Jordan Phillips. Players like Damien Williams, Neville Hewitt, and Tony Lippett are showing they have a lot of potential and upside or are providing solid depth at their respective positions.
Players like Jelani Jenkins, Walt Aikens, Terrence Fede and Jordan Lucas are contributing but are not making the bigger strides that many had hoped for after showing a lot of promise.
Contracts of these players are not out of this world for the most part. Three players, Laremy Tunsil, De’Vante Parker, and Ja’Wuan James earn more than $2 million per season with all three making over $2.5 per year. Xavien Howard, Jordan Phillips, and Jarvis Landry all make over $1 million per season.
Kenny Stills and Dion Sims are both impending free agents and Jarvis Landry’s contract will likely be addressed this off-season. Sims is expendable but many believe that Stills has earned a new deal with the Dolphins.
Miami is getting good production or depth from many in this group and growth was seen in 2016 making the bottom of the Dolphins roster, the youth of the roster, something to build upon.
The Dolphins have 14 players from this group who should see continued growth and as such remain a part of the club for the next two or three years. In the case of Stills it’s about his contract.
Jakeem Grant, Leonte Carroo, Kenyan Drake, Laremy Tunsil, Jay AJayi, Neville Hewitt, Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain, Jarvis Landry, Tony Lippett, DeVante Parker, Jordan Phillips, Damien Williams, and perhaps Kenny Stills.
Conversely, players like Ja’Wuan James, Terrence Fede, Walt Aikens, and Mike Hull need to improve over the next year or two.