It appears as though Braxton Berrios will not be back with the Dolphins next season. He said his fond farewell on Instagram late Thursday night. The former All-Pro special teamer and slot receiver was signed at the beginning of free agency last season to a one-year contract. He is currently an unrestricted free agent and by the sign of things, the Dolphins are in no hurry to bring him back.
In Mike McDaniel's offense speed is at a premium, and Berrios is just two-steps too slow.
Berrios was a sixth-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2018 but was cut at the end of training camp. Berrios then spent the next four seasons with the New York Jets and was a Pro Bowl return specialist in 2021. The Dolphins were looking for that spark, but Berrios just never got it going in the return game. That is part special teams' coach Danny Crossman's fault as the punt game was substandard in 2023.
“I hate to see this one end. This year was one I’ll forever be grateful for; I got to come back to the city I call home and play for my childhood team," Berrios said. "I’m thankful for all my guys I got to share the field with and everybody else in that building that made coming to work every day fun. Fins up.”
The Dolphins are going to have to replace Berrios from outside as they do not have another clutch receiver that they can throw to in the slot. The former University of Miami product played in 16 games this season, plus the playoff game, and caught 27 passes for 238 yards and had one touchdown. Berrios was never a deep threat, but he made the tough grab when called upon.
Berrios was also the return specialist for the Dolphins. He returned 23 punts for 235 yards and 18 kickoffs for 441 yards. Miami will look to replace Berrios' productivity and talent either in free agency or through the draft.
The Dolphins could put Jaylen Waddle or Tyreek Hill in the punt return slot, but why risk the injury? There are other specialists out there in free agency that can spell Berrios. Miami also might have a change of heart and bring Berrios back later in free agency under a cap-friendly contract.
Berrios was always a fan favorite due to his hard-nosed play at the University of Miami, who also play their home games at Hard Rock Stadium. Berrios was one of the top returners in the Atlantic Coast Conference and caught 100 passes from the likes of Brad Kaaya and Malik Rozier for 1,175 yards and 14 touchdowns.