The two players who received the largest financial commitment from the Dolphins this offseason received high marks from their most recent NFL head coaches on Monday at the NFL owner’s meetings.
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid praised receiver Albert Wilson, who received a three-year, $24 million deal from the Dolphins.
And Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay was highly complimentary of Robert Quinn, the defensive end acquired by the Dolphins for a fourth-round pick and an exchange of sixth-rounders. Quinn has two years and $24.5 million remaining on his contract.
“Robert did a great job for us,” McVay said in a hallway at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando. “I thought he was instrumental in being able to win a division title. The production off the edge. You still see the elite get-off, the ability to close and bend, which is why he was a top pick. I can’t say enough good things about Robert. The Dolphins are getting a great player and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Will moving back to defensive end from outside linebacker help?
“He did that a lot,” McVay said. “A lot of his production was coming off the same position. But seeing the success he had in more of a four-down base defense as well where you’re not standing up but you’re able to put your hand on the ground and really tee off of that snap count and still be able to rush the passer on all downs but also keep the integrity on the run. He’s a guy who can play in any system. I think he will do a great job for you guys.”
With the Rams adding several top players this offseason, was the Quinn move money driven?
“Everything we do has a lot of layers to it,” McVay said. “What it boils down to is there was a decision we felt like, when you look at all things considered, we felt like it was going to be something that was going to be good for both sides and very thankful to be able to work with Robert last year.”
Quinn, who turns 28 in May, has just 17 1/2 sacks in his last three seasons after averaging more than 11 in each of his first four.
Part of that dip in production is of course due to a series of injuries, with back issues being the most significant.
The two-time Pro Bowler has missed 16 games — a full season’s worth — since signing his six-year contract extension early in the 2014 season.
The Dolphins will plug him in at defensive end, which will be a welcome change after playing out of position as a 3-4 outside linebacker last year.
Quinn played 409 snaps at outside linebacker last season after just 27 in the previous six years, per PFF.
He was asked to drop into coverage 26 times last year, compared with 12 over the previous six years combined.
Pro Football Focus said Quinn graded out better than just 19 of the league’s 106 qualifying edge defenders last year, although he was better as a pass rusher than he was against the run.
Meanwhile, Reid declined to say if the Chiefs countered Miami’s offer to Wilson. But Kansas City subsequently signed Sammy Watkins, considered the top receiver in this free agent class.
Reid said of Wilson: “Very, very smart. Very tough over the middle. Has a great feel for the game. Phenomenal feel.”
Is there room for growth with the 25-year-old Wilson?
“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Reid said. “He’s gotten better every year he’s been in the league. Great kid, too. Great teammate.”
For the first time in a four-year career, Wilson should regularly get starter’s snaps. He was the Chiefs’ third, if not fourth, passing option for most of his time in Kansas City, and his stats reflected that.
He has 124 catches in his career — just 12 more than Jarvis Landry had last year alone.
However, Wilson’s 12.5 career yards-per-catch average is a full two yards better than what Landry has produced.
Wilson (5-foot-9, 200 pounds) will also be the fastest slot receiver Miami has had in recent memory (although Kenny Stills has gotten some snaps inside).
PFF ranked Wilson 33rd out of 116 wide receivers a year ago. He caught 75 percent of the passes thrown to him.
SUH SIGNS WITH RAMS
Hours before former Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh agreed to a one-year, $14 million deal with the Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay talked about the possible addition of the Pro Bowl tackle.
“...As soon as he got released, we started thinking of some different things as far as how to supplement some of the needs that we had. Similar to what Robert Quinn provides, you look at a player like Suh. He fits in really any system,” McVay said. “Great football players finding a way to fit. If it works out, great. If not, you know [he’s] a really impressive guy in the visit we had with him. You can see he’s very well thought out and intentional with everything he does. We were impressed with him. We will see how it all works out.”