Since the Miami Dolphins selected wide receiver Jarvis Landry with the 63rd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, he's caught 400 passes for just over 4,000 yards and 22 touchdowns. To say he has been a huge part of the Dolphins offense since the moment he stepped onto the field four years ago would be an understatement. At times, Landry hasn't just been an important piece of the team's offense; he has been the offense. If you think 400 catches in four seasons seems like a lot, consider the team has tried to get the ball to him almost 600 times including run plays, and that doesn't even include 137 touches he's had on special teams.
Running down his accomplishments in a Dolphins uniform is almost as exhausting as monitoring his temper. This past Sunday against Buffalo, Landry was ejected for a fight that occurred after a touchdown he scored. That sentence, in a nutshell, is the problem with him: He has issues toeing the line between plays. Is he a passionate leader or a loon?
When Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post asked this week about Landry and running back Kenyan Drake's late-game ejections, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase used the term "embarrassing":
"I think that was the pinnacle of what I’ve ever seen with him during a game,” Gase said today. “I know there’s been times where some of those guys kind of got in the mix a little bit, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it get to a level where it was extremely bad. Last game, that was about as embarrassing as I’ve seen in a long time. It’s just something that we can’t have happen.
"Whether people think we weren’t in the game or it was garbage time or whatever it was, all I know is we were in the game and we’re going on our last drive of the game and two of our best players on offense aren’t in there. That was very, very frustrating to watch and standing there, not being able to do anything. We need way better control from our best players in the heat of the moment."
To say Gase seemed upset with Landry would be an understatement. It's probably best Landry won't be seeing his head coach for a while.
While Landry's temperament is a consideration moving forward, there is something else holding the Dolphins back from committing to him long term: money. A lot of it. Too much of it, actually, and that's the issue.
Landry wants to be paid like one of the top wide receivers in the NFL. Based on his production, he probably should be. Estimates are he's in for a big payday, possibly in the $15 million-to-$17 million range. For the Dolphins, that is far too much for what amounts to a slot receiver who catches a million footballs for minimal yardage on terrible offenses.
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Landry is replaceable — maybe not by one guy and maybe not at this exact position right away, but at his estimated price, his salary would be better spent for other position players on this team that needs so much. With so many other holes in their football team and an already putrid cap situation, the Dolphins should move on from a terrific player who has run his course for Miami.
The team will probably cut ties with many players this offseason in an attempt to clean up the salary cap. Ndamukong Suh, Ja’Wuan James, and Lawrence Timmons are three starters likely to be gone, and there will probably be others.
The Dolphins are a bad football team with the progression arrow pointed down. They'll need a whole lot of renovations this offseason to change that fact. But improvements cost money, and the NFL places a cap on the amount teams can spend to fix their houses.
Jarvis Landry is a luxury the Dolphins can't afford.