The NBA-ification of the NFL Is Now Complete With Trade of Tyreek Hill

Petty demands, superstar trades and tons of guaranteed money have arrived in the National Football League

Tyreek Hill walks off the field after a game against the Las Vegas Raiders. The trade of Hill, who recently moved to the Miami Dolphins, means the NFL is now acting more like the NBA.
Tyreek Hill walks off the field after a game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Sean M. Haffey/Getty

Just over two years ago, former Houston coach and general manager Bill O’Brien sent five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for a laughable haul of broken-down running back David Johnson, a second-round pick in 2020 and fourth-round pick in 2021. Following the deal, Hopkins agreed to a $54.5 million extension with the Cardinals that will keep him in Arizona through the 2024 season and scored $42.5 million in guaranteed money at signing.

The cash and picks involved in those transactions — which made Hopkins the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history and ended up costing O’Brien his job — now look like peanuts.

In a blockbuster deal completed Wednesday for six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins gave up five draft picks, among them one first- and one second-rounder, to bring the former Kansas City speedster to Miami. Following the trade, Hill signed a four-year, $120 million deal ($72.2 million guaranteed) with the Dolphins. 

Hill, who went to two straight Super Bowls with the Chiefs (winning one) and was a couple of plays away from going to a third, could have gotten big money from Kansas City but reportedly wanted a bigger deal than the five-year, $140 million contract ($66 million guaranteed) that Davente Adams got from the Raiders after they traded a first- and second-rounder to the Packers to bring in the five-time Pro Bowler. A petty ask from Hill, but one that netted him more than $6 million more guaranteed dollars and will get him into free agency quicker.

Big names. Big money. And those are just the wide receivers.

When it comes to biggest position in the NFL and debatably all of sports — quarterback — this offseason has seen a number of high-profile players get dealt in blockbuster trades including Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. (Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz also moved and Baker Mayfield will.) Aaron Rodgers didn’t change teams, but he got a massive contract extension to stay with the Packers. Quarterback movement, which used to never happen (hence the term “franchise quarterback”), has been so prevalent this offseason that only one of the NFL’s eight divisions (AFC East) is set to have the same four quarterbacks start the 2022 season as started the 2021 season.

In the NBA, superstar players like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kevin Durant have been calling their own shots and basically going where they please for years, not to mention getting paid handsomely to do so. That hasn’t typically been the case in the NFL, but it appears that has changed.

Welcome to the new NBA: the NFL.

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