By: Jason Sarney
The Miami Dolphins continued their media welcome session Tuesday afternoon. South Florida reporters welcomed perhaps the prized gem of the 2021 Dolphin free agent class with wide receiver William Fuller V, formerly of, where else?
The Dolphins signed Fuller on this past Saturday to a one-year deal, and he joins a crowded wide receiver room that includes DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Lynn Bowden, Jr. and Jakeem Grant to name a few.
The details of the deal, according to www.spotrac.com is a $10,625,011 contract, including a $9,635,011 signing bonus, $10,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $10,625,011. Fuller’s 2021 base salary will be $990,000 and a signing bonus of $9,010,000, while carrying a cap hit of $10,625,011 and a dead cap value of $10,625,011.
Discussing his 1-year deal and why he chose that route, Fuller told reports, "I feel I wanted to take a 1-year to prove my worth in the league. I've had my fair share of injuries, and I want to prove myself."
Expanding on the contract talk and what appeals to him playing with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Fuller said, “I signed a 1-year deal looking to help this team win…. I am excited to be here. Excited to take a fresh start."
He added, "Tua is an electric player...I am super excited to play with Tua and I can't wait to work with him."
It is likely Tua will concur, as when looking at some stats that are a bit more in-depth from his 2020 season, the one that stood out the most was the Quarterback Passer Rating when thrown his way. Last year that number was 134.2 and back in 2018 in his 7 games played that rating was even better at 137.5. His big play ability also moves the chains, creating 38 2020 1st downs on his 53 receptions.
Fuller is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania product and attended Notre Dame before becoming the 21st overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft for Houston. While not yet appearing in a full 16 game slate in his five-year career thus far Fuller is efficient if anything. In just 11 games played in 2020, Fuller caught 53 passes for 879 yards and 8 touchdowns, all career highs.
Most notably was his gaudy 16.6 yards per reception average which is big play numbers the Dolphins sorely need. Fuller averaged 79.9 yards receiving per game in 2020. Let’s put that into perspective with DeVante Parker, Miami’s leading receiver last season. Parker averaged 56.6 yards receiving per game, and in 2019 had a stellar season at 75.1 receiving yards per game, a few yards short of Fuller’s 2020 average.
Almost more importantly to what Fuller does when he catches the ball, his presence on the field opens up the defense by lifting the safeties to account for him, thus creating opportunities for other receivers all over the field.
Fuller stated, “I think I can bring an element to the Dolphins to help other guys out."
Fuller seems cut in that team mind-set mold Miami covets, and when asked about his thoughts if the Dolphins add more receivers in the draft, he enthusiastically said, “oh yea, of course, the more talent we got the easier it's going to be for all of us."
It is to be noted that Fuller will finish the lone game remaining from his 6-game suspension due violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances and miss Week 1. When asked about that topic, it seemed evident it was a one-off occurrence, as Fuller said, "for me it was a one-time thing, completely accidental."
Closing the media session, he was asked how the South Florida heat would affect him and he said, "I'm prepared for it." He added, “that's something I have never had a problem with, my conditioning."