2018 NFL free agents: Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry willing to look elsewhere

The Dolphins can’t let this leave. (Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS—Jarvis Landry has been discussing his contract status with the Dolphins for the last year or so, and every syllable of it has been positive. When they didn’t extend him last offseason, he never complained. When he went into this year without a deal and played for about $1 million, he said he was at peace.

It’s going to get a lot more serious very quickly. The two sides are absolutely on the clock following today’s season finale, a 22-16 loss to the Bills, and Landry is realistic enough to know that things don’t always work out perfectly.

“I want to be a Dolphin,” he said. “I want to be here. If not, I’ll find a way to be successful elsewhere.”

That’s the first time Landry has even hinted that he might end up on a new team after this season, his fourth with Miami, and that’s a message to management that he’s willing to use the leverage he earned.

After playing out his entire rookie contract, he’s an unrestricted free agent and there’s little doubt he’s eying Antonio Brown’s recent four-year, $68 million contract with Pittsburgh as a reference point.

Landry might not haul in quite that much, but market value is sure to be high after another impressive season. He led the NFL in catches and broke his own franchise single-season mark with 112. He also had a career-high nine touchdown catches and was just shy of his third straight 1,000-yard season at 987. He did that, of course, with Jay Cutler, Matt Moore and David Fales as his quarterbacks.

Landry might have gotten to the millennium mark, incidentally, had he not been ejected with 6:21 left in today’s game.

Regardless, that output is going to get the attention of any team that needs firepower in the passing game, and that will drive up his price.

The Dolphins love Landry, and if they want to keep him they’ll have to pay what the market demands on a long-term deal or franchise tag him for one year at the average salary of the top five at his position. Considering how much they need him and Gase’s belief that he’s their best offensive talent, it would be shocking if one of the two happens.

There’s a minimal chance that Miami will actually let Landry go, but when asked today about the possibility of leaving, he said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”

What he does know is this gives him time to relax, reflect and listen until free agency opens in March.

If winning is what matters most, does he believe this is the place he can compete for a title? The Dolphins haven’t truly been at that level since Dan Marino played.

And speaking of quarterbacks, does he think Ryan Tannehill is the best fit for him to put together a Hall of Fame career? He’s coming off two knee issues, he’ll be 30 next season and he has yet to prove he’s above-average.

Nothing’s bigger than the money, of course. Will he lower his demands at all to help the team put quality pieces at other positions? That’s certainly not his responsibility.

But that’s not where his head was tonight.

“What happens now?” he asked. “I get a lot of time to spend with my daughter, with my family. I’ve enjoyed this whole process. I thank God for giving me an opportunity, to put me in this position. I’m just excited about the next step of my life.”

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