Many were stunned when Tyreek Hill went on the trade block this offseason, including new Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, who was immediately on board with GM Chris Grier's decision to take KC's call and try to pull off a massive Hill deal that involved five draft picks, including first- and second-rounders from this year. McDaniel drops all kinds of captivating behind-the scenes details about what led to the pursuit of Hill and how the deal ultimately went down.
It's so rare, maybe even unprecedented, for a coach to be this open and transparent on a great many things. You'd normally need a beat reporter to do a lengthy-ass, behind-the-scenes feature and badger anyone in an NFL leadership role to spill the beans to this degree. I wrote last weekend about McDaniel's straight-up electric press conferences from training camp:
McDaniel's disarming honesty is, again, so refreshing in a league filled with killjoy hardos. Not saying that can't be an effective leadership approach at times. The game of football is not for the faint of heart. Not going to say McDaniel won over the entire locker room unanimously, either. I'm sure some vets are waiting for the season to start to see how he handles speed bumps, or to see if he is, in fact, the offensive wizard he's reputed to be after many years serving as Kyle Shanahan's right-hand man.
Shanahan might be the best play designer and is one of the better pure play-callers in the game today. Not a bad guy to learn from and collaborate with. Hill's skill set, namely his speed, should unlock new levels of play from third-year Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa. The offense McDaniel is bringing from San Francisco is predicated on zone running and heavy play-action. That system's ceiling can be raised with a combination of a precise, ball-placement extraordinaire like Tua and speedy receivers like Hill and Jaylen Waddle. That's what Miami is working with.
On paper, the blueprint is wildly promising. The obvious drawback is Hill's off-field past, specifically a horrifying domestic violence incident from his college years. That was a while back, and I get that McDaniel was in a loose, easygoing setting with Dan Le Batard and friends. He wasn't about to be peppered with hardball questions about Hill's off-field conduct and how that factored into the trade, a la the debacle that's been the Browns' deal for disgraced quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The Dolphins won a frenzied bidding war for Hill's services and concluded the upside was worth the risk/blowback to take the plunge on "Cheetah" for the long haul. All involved will put their best foot forward and the chips will fall where they may. I'm not going "holier-than-thou" on y'all I'm just calling out the elephant in the room. I felt it'd be a bad look not to.
Everything came together so quickly too, that McDaniel went full-on tunnel vision to cram Tyreek game film for five hours the day Grier broached the possibility. From a pure football standpoint, you can see why McDaniel's brain got scrambled and caused him to enter a film-crunching fugue state. Bottom line is, I'm here for all the Mike McDaniel content. His story is entertaining as hell and makes for some fun Friday consumption. I really enjoy his lighter, less self-serious take on pro football, on display here once again.