The Miami Dolphins acquired perennial Pro Bowl wideout Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason for five draft picks, including a first-round selection next month. The addition of Hill also meant a new contract extension, as Hill inked a reported four-year, $120 million extension that averages $30 million per year, with $72.2 million guaranteed.
It's fair to assume that Hill is going to be the focal point of Miami's new-look offense. He's a weapon that can do it all, whether it's taking a screen to the house or beating safeties deep for the long score. While Dolphins general manager Chris Grier is dreaming of how his new head coach Mike McDaniel will use Hill, he was thrown off by Hill's first request.
"Tyreek, the first thing he said was I want to make sure I'm back there, getting a couple of (punt) returns every game," Grier said, via The Palm Beach Post.
That's right, Hill wants to be the punt returner for his new team. Hill has returned a total of 86 punts in his career, but almost all of those touches came during his first few seasons in the league. He's fielded just one punt in each of the past two regular seasons for a grand total of zero yards. When given the chance, however, Hill has been very effective as a return man. In his rookie season, he returned 39 punts for 592 yards and two touchdowns, and also returned one of his 14 kick returns for a touchdown. Hill was named an All-Pro as a punt returner, and made the Pro Bowl as well.
If you recall, Hill did return a punt for 45 yards in the divisional round victory against the Buffalo Bills.
So, why did the Chiefs virtually pull Hill from his job returning punts? One factor was likely due to injury concerns. Hill was showing how effective he could be as a receiver, and it didn't make sense to risk one of your most important offensive playmakers by allowing him to play special teams.
The Dolphins will certainly want to keep Hill healthy, but expect him to return more punts in the 2022 regular season than he did over the past few years.