By: Matthew Morin
The Miami Dolphins sent slot receiver Jakeem Grant to the Chicago Bears for a 2023 6th round pick earlier this afternoon, initially reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, thus ending the 4 year marriage between Miami and the speedy Texas Tech University product.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to some people, as Jakeem’s role has steadily decreased in past weeks. When Miami selected Grant back in 2016, they envisioned a slot receiver with incredible speed (Grant recorded a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine) who could make winning plays from time to time.
Even though he isn’t the most imposing physical specimen at 5’8 & 160 pounds, Grant still managed to deliver some memorable kick/punt returns during his tenure in Miami...as well as when he lined up as a traditional slot receiver. However, recently and somewhat in the past, Grant had his fair share of turnover struggles. His hands as a pass catcher also haven’t been regarded as the most reliable.
This sentiment came to life again this past weekend. With a little over 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter of Sunday’s game against the Colts, Grant muffed a punt that basically eliminated any chance of Miami building some momentum to possibly come back and win the game. Grant’s body language spoke for itself after the play, his day was done shortly after.
Miami went on to lose to Indianapolis, 27-17, falling to 1-3 on the season. Coach Brian Flores alluded to him and his team needing to turn things around in today’s press conference, “We are re-evaluating everything, the whole operation , down to the way we practice...we have to do everything better.”
Quotes like this and a trade of a featured target on an already struggling offense is worrisome, and rightfully so. Miami now ranks second to last in the NFL in total yards for the season, while averaging 15.5 PPG as an offense. Not the most amusing stats in the world, but a necessary topic of discussion to say the least.
One positive: with Grant on his way to Chicago, this will give rookie Jaylen Waddle more of an opportunity to showcase his skill set on special teams seeing as Grant was the main returner on Punt and Kickoff for Miami. Waddle can now step in and flash his own game-breaking ability (hopefully without the muffed punts).