The Kansas City Chiefs dealt Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins in a blockbuster trade Wednesday, and opinions are split inside the NFL on how they’ll replace him
The Kansas City Chiefs failed to come to terms with wide receiver Tyreek Hill on a new contract Wednesday, and instead traded the six-time Pro Bowler to the Miami Dolphins, in a move that has the potential to completely alter one of the most prolific offenses in recent NFL history.
“You really can’t replace a guy like Tyreek Hill,” an NFC Executive tells FanSided of the blockbuster trade, and what the Chiefs traded away. “He’s one of the top five players in the NFL, quarterbacks excluded, of course, because he just has so much play-speed.”
Hill, 28, is one of the more prolific yards after the catch playmakers of this generation and had been instrumental in Kansas City’s run to two Super Bowls in the past three seasons, including a victory in Super Bowl LIV.
This past season, Hill averaged 11.2 yards per reception, but was one of quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ favorite targets, averaging four yards after the catch per reception. Mahomes’ loss, now stands to be Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s gain, as the third-year quarterback faces a pivotal season ahead.
“The Chiefs can hope to draft a player with Hill’s skill-set again,” the executive says. “But, that’s all it is. Hope. Those guys are hard as hell to find.”
So, how do the Chiefs replace Hill’s production, let alone, Hill the player? FanSided spoke to multiple executives, agents, and scouts to get a sense for where the Chiefs go from here after trading Hill.
Not everyone inside the league offers as dire an outlook on Kansas City’s receiving corps, or situation, as many people’s immediate reaction to the trade might suggest.
“Their top priority is going to have to be getting a young speed guy,” an AFC offensive coach tells FanSided, on the condition of anonymity as he isn’t permitted to speak publicly about other teams. “You have to remember, Tyreek is getting expensive, and several key contracts are compounding to tie up [the Chiefs’] money.”
Indeed, Hill’s long-term contract extension talks had stalled prior to Wednesday’s deal, which was the impetus for the trade.
Shortly after consummating the trade, Miami and Hill agreed to terms on a new four-year pact worth $120 million that includes $72.2 million fully guaranteed.
While Miami gains one of the premier wide receivers in the game, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach extracted a king’s ransom, which belies an emerging trend across the league.
Hill doesn’t play quarterback, nor left tackle, nor is he an edge rusher.
However, between the package of five picks the Dolphins traded Kansas City, the first and second-round picks the Green Bay Packers received in return for Davante Adams, and the $72 million the Jacksonville Jaguars paid Christian Kirk in free agency, the league has never valued receivers higher.
Where do Chiefs go from here after trading Tyreek Hill?
In the wake of moving on from Hill, look for the Chiefs to turn their attention to the NFL Draft, where they’ll now be armed with picks No. 29 and No. 30 overall in the first round.
Veach now has the flexibility to either use a pair of first-round picks to buttress a roster that’s made the AFC Championship Game four straight years or perhaps move up the board to target their top receiver target.
Ohio State’s Chris Olave, Penn State’s Jahan Dotson, and Alabama’s Jameson Williams all offer the kind of speed to at least fill the role schematically that Hill executed at the highest level.
“Tyreek Hill had world-class speed, at least relative to the NFL,” an NFL scout tells FanSided.
Time will tell if any of this draft’s top receiver prospects can come close to not only Hill’s speed, but his elusiveness in the open-field, and elite ability to stop and start on a dime.
So, what will whoever the Chiefs draft, or Josh Gordon, or Mecole Hardman need to do next season to keep Kansas City’s offense humming along?
“Simply put,” the scout says. “They need someone on the field who can demand bracket coverage and allow for Travis Kelce and JuJu [Smith-Schuster] to face one-on-ones.”
Hill was one of the best in the business at doing that. Time will tell if the Chiefs will be as electrifying without him.