Rishard Matthews wants out of Miami. DeVante Parker and the rest of the Dolphins’ 2015 draft class, meanwhile, are here for a while.
Matthews, unhappy with the prospect of another year buried on the Dolphins’ depth chart, is boycotting the team’s voluntary workouts in hopes of forcing a trade or his release, the Miami Herald has learned.
A big reason: The Dolphins drafted Parker, who signed his rookie contract late Thursday, the team announced. The four-year deal is worth roughly $10.9 million. His signing bonus will be just north of $6 million.
The rest of the team’s draft class also signed Thursday: second-round defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, fourth-round guard Jamil Douglas and the four fifth-rounders — cornerback Bobby McCain, running back Jay Ajayi, safety Cedric Thompson and cornerback Tony Lippett.
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Thanks to the rookie wage scale from the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, drafted players have very little negotiating room. They’re all going to make slightly less than the player taken before the, and slightly more than the one after them.
The system removes almost any possibility of a training-camp holdout. The seven new Dolphins, along with whichever undrafted free agents sign with the team, will be on the field Friday for the start of rookie minicamp.
None of this means the team is drama-free, however. Matthews has made it very clear that he wants to be gone from the organization that drafted him in 2012.
Parker’s arrival invariably means fewer snaps for Matthews, and he’s not happy about it.
Matthews’ agent Steve Caric, who has disputed previous reports about Matthews’ desire to be traded, declined to comment on this latest matter.
“It’s funny how people claim to want to do right by you,” Matthews, a fourth-year receiver out of Nevada, wrote Thursday on Twitter. “In the end, it’s all just talk.”
Matthews was a spot player and a reliable special-teams contributor during his first three years and had likely hoped for an increased role this season. But the Dolphins made it clear through their actions that they again viewed him as their No.5 receiver.
They traded for Kenny Stills and signed Greg Jennings this offseason. But it wasn’t until the Dolphins took Parker in the first round last week that Matthews decided to stop showing up to the team’s offseason conditioning program. It’s unclear if his boycott will last through next month’s mandatory minicamps; skipping those would result in a fine.
Matthews has sparred with Dolphins coach Joe Philbin in the past and acknowledged that he was deactivated for the Vikings game late in the 2014 season for disciplinary reasons, which he called at the time “the right decision.” Matthews, who has 64 catches in 38 NFL games, has also been fined for tardiness.