This Dolphins star should be next to get an extension over Tua Tagovailoa

The Dolphins still have plenty of moves to make after extending Jaylen Waddle
Jaelan Phillips' contract should be extended next, even before Tua Tagovailoa
Jaelan Phillips' contract should be extended next, even before Tua Tagovailoa / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Jaylen Waddle has agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension worth a minimum guarantee of $76 million. It is now time for the Miami Dolphins to turn their sights toward extending edge-rusher and fellow 2021 first-round draft choice Jaelan Phillips.

Phillips is rehabbing from a season-ending Achilles tendon injury suffered last season in a game against the New York Jets at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey. In his three seasons in the league, he has become a stud edge-rusher who shows tremendous pressure on the quarterback every single down.

Despite being injured for a significant part of last season, the former Miami Hurricane accumulated 6.5 sacks with 43 combined tackles and an interception. He has 22 sacks on his young three-year career and is showing tremendous promise.

The Dolphins must prioritize an extension with pass-rusher Jaelan Phillips

Phillips set a Dolphins' rookie record with 8.5 sacks in 2021 and followed up with seven in 2022. He was on pace for 14 sacks in 2023, but suffered the gruesome injury in Week 8. He has shown great promise and is well-respected by his teammates.

"I’d say there’s a few guys. We’ve got (Bradley) Chubb, Jaelan (Phillips), myself and I think it’s something that we’ve built as a culture here especially in our room as a d-line, is if you know the technique even if you’re not a starter, you’re a leader. Like if you can help teach other guys technique, help view each other’s plays; we’re all in it together. We’re all trying to make a living for our families so it’s kind of something we all work on together."

Dolphins defensive tackle Zach Sieler

The Dolphins did the right thing in picking up the fifth-year option on Phillips, so if Chris Grier wanted, the Dolphins could let it drag into the regular season and hope to sign him in the near future, before he plays out the fifth-year option. They tried to do that with Christian Wilkins and Wilkins had a career year during his option season and then packed his bags and left for Las Vegas in free agency.

Sieler believes that the cohesiveness that the line is starting to build together, with Phillips and Chubb, proves that the line needs to stay together and continue to play hard as a unit.

"How many of us rush the passer together? How many of us stop the run together? It takes the whole front. So we do lump all of us together on the d-line. Yeah, Jaelan (Phillips) and (Bradley) Chubb might be a little more athletic than us, (laughter) but we’re still d-linemen."

Dolphins defensive tackle Zach Sieler

Wilkins leaving in free agency should teach the Dolphins that they should sign their key young players early and get them locked up like they did with Waddle. There will be plenty of time to sign quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is going to demand and get a king's ransom. Sign Phillips first and get that out of the way.

Tagovailoa is going to get re-signed before the season starts. Grier and Tagovailoa's representatives have been talking since before the combine and are probably waiting for the post-June 1 cap freedom from Xavien Howard to kick in before they get serious about their negotiations. Tagovailoa will sign a contract with an annual average value of around $50-55 million per season.

The Dolphins will sign Phillips for much less, but he will stand to get a substantial raise. Miami head coach Mike McDaniel knows that Phillips is coming back from the injury, but he is excited to get him back nonetheless. He is looking forward to putting him and Chubb back in the starting lineup at some point during the season.

"I’m excited about where they’re at today, and I’m very, very encouraged for the prospect of their tomorrow. (laughter) I’m telling you; I don’t do timelines. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t make sense. It’s like a hex –it used to be you put pressure on a date and you wish it not to exist, so I’m not doing that."

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel

Young, talented edge-rushers do not grow on trees, despite Miami getting two awfully good ones in the draft in Chop Robinson and Mohamed Kamara. Those two rotating with Phillips and Chubb for the future could be a deadly proposition for opposing teams to defend.