New WR Albert Wilson playing everywhere for Miami Dolphins

Albert Wilson offers the chance for a big play every snap. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — One thing Adam Gase and the Dolphins love about their reconstructed group of skill players is how pliable it is. The offense can move pieces wherever it wants them, opening up limitless creativity for Gase, and it’s likely no player embodies that more than new receiver Albert Wilson.

Wilson became a prime target for Miami in free agency primarily for his speed, and he’s expected to get a more prominent role in the offense than he ever had in Kansas City. He’s been all over the place during Organized Team Activities.

“He’s really done a nice job the past two weeks,” receivers coach Ben Johnson. “It’s really triggered us to say he’s not limited in the slot, he’s not limited outside. He can line up in the backfield. He can do so many different things for us. His versatility is really, really showing up.”

There were times last season when Gase felt somewhat constrained by having to keep DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry on the field without a ton of flexibility, but he seems intent on opening things up more this season. Stills can play inside or outside, running back Kenyan Drake can line up at receiver, he’s got a very promising tight end threat in Mike Gesicki and wide-ranging versatility with Wilson.

The most common way he’s likely to be used is on short passes, like bubble screens, that present opportunities for big yards after the catch. That won’t be it, though. At 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, Wilson is a shade on the small side, but he showed great athleticism down the field last year with the Chiefs.

“When we looked at Albert on film, we were intrigued, obviously with the speed,” Johnson said. “We were intrigued with the run-after-catch ability. I think all of that has been there. It’s been impressive to me to see him come in, pick up this system and learn these fundamentals (when) he wasn’t really doing the same thing in Kansas City.”

He posted career highs in Kansas City with 42 receptions, 554 yards (13.2 per catch) and three touchdowns. That tracked with the steady progress he’s made since breaking into the league as an undrafted free agent from Georgia State in 2014. He was a multi-talented threat there, too, after playing quarterback at Port St. Lucie High School.

Wilson has eight rushes in his career, and the Dolphins seem particularly drawn to that untapped part of his game.

“When you have the kind of athletic ability he does, the speed he does, the playmaking ability, you just try to find ways to get the ball in his hands and let him do his thing,” Gase said.

Wilson is also one of a few candidates to work at punt returner.

The Dolphins needed a slot receiver once they traded Landry to the Browns and they opted to replace him with Wilson and Danny Amendola. Landry would’ve cost about $16 million this season, and Wilson came in at half that price.

Miami picked him up on a three-year, $24 million deal with $14.5 million guaranteed. The team can get out of the contract after the 2019 season for a small dead cap hit of $1.3 million.

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Albert Wilson learning quickly from Miami Dolphins veteran receivers

Albert Wilson completed his first three OTA practices with the Dolphins this week. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — New Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson is coming into his own as a 25-year-old in the NFL, but he’s still eager to be mentored.

After four seasons in Kansas City, Wilson signed with Miami as a free agent and joined a wide receiver corps headed by sixth-year veteran Kenny Stills. Shortly after picking up Wilson, the Dolphins agreed to a deal with two-time Super Bowl champion Danny Amendola.

Miami coach Adam Gase is counting on Stills and Amendola to keep that group on track, and it sounds like that plan is already working.

“Kenny does a great job of letting us know what coach is looking for,” said Wilson, who was the oldest receiver on the Chiefs last year. “He’s been around it and had a lot of success here. He’s a great leader and Danny, he’s coming over and has played a ton of football. To have him on our side and to pick his brain and see how he works, it’s a great thing for us.”

Wilson said stills understands every aspect of the offense and has helped him as he’s studied the new playbook. Like Stills, Wilson is expected to know every receiver route on every play because the Dolphins can use him inside and outside.

The combination of Amendola and Stills at this position is ideal for how the Dolphins want to shape their roster.

Not only has Amendola played nine years, he spent five of them with New England. That almost automatically gives him credibility within an organization that aspires to catch the Patriots. Stills, meanwhile, is immensely talented, fully versed in Gase’s offense and is the example coaches often point to for young players.

Wilson, from Port St. Lucie, made the Chiefs’ roster as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and progressed to the point where he earned a three-year, $24 million contract from the Dolphins. He had career highs in catches (42), yards (554) and touchdowns (three) last season. The team is also exploring whether he can be an option as a punt returner.

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Damien Williams signed relatively cheaply, so why isn’t he a Dolphin?

Damien Williams is with the Chiefs now. (Getty Images)

ORLANDO—Damien Williams seemed like he’d be a tough player for Dolphins coach Adam Gase to lose, and Gase confirmed that when talking about what kind of player Kansas City is getting by signing him.

Williams, who turns 26 next week, was a big success for Miami’s player development program. He went from an undrafted free agent to the starting running back, and Gase found all kinds of ways to use him. He often portrayed Williams as his type of player and had a hint of regret about his departure.

“A tough, football intelligent, playmaker,” Gase said. “He’s just a guy that when Sundays come around, he’s going to give you everything he has. When things are going bad, you get the ball to him and he’ll make something happen.

“He’s got passion for the game. He’s one of the guys I loved being around, whether it be practice or game day. Just seeing him grow over the time that we’ve been together, it was a great experience.”

The retooled backfield of Williams and Kenyan Drake had success after the Jay Ajayi trade last year and looked like an ideal combination for the offense Gase wants to run. Williams had 202 total yards in three full games as the starter.

The confusing part of this situation is that seems like it would have been easy for the Dolphins to keep Williams.

He likely would’ve been headed toward a larger, multi-year contract had he not needed shoulder surgery after last season, but ended up signing with the Chiefs for one season at $1.5 million.

Miami, meanwhile, signed 34-year-old Frank Gore to a one-year deal at the veteran minimum. The team did save about $750,000 in salary cap space by going with Gore compared to the contract Williams signed.

Gase’s answer as to why one of his favorite players got away was that Williams initially was looking for a bigger deal than the Dolphins were willing to do. By the time they could have revisited, the team shifted its attention to veterans like Gore and DeMarco Murray.

“I think when he really entered this process, they were thinking more than what we were really at,” Gase said. “By the time it circled back around, we were already kind of moving on. I was looking for what we ended up getting with Frank. I wanted that veteran guy that had a lot of experience and really could help Drake take his game to the next level.”

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Dolphins coach Adam Gase has big plans for new WR Albert Wilson

Albert Wilson is small but dangerous. (Getty Images)

ORLANDO—Don’t be fooled by Adam Gase’s jokes about his newest weapon in the passing game. He likes to laugh about Albert Wilson’s 5-foot-9 stature and how he “towers over” diminutive teammate Jakeem Grant offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, but he’s ultra-serious about what he thinks Wilson will add to the Dolphins.

Gase surely knows Wilson isn’t as good as Jarvis Landry, who was traded to Cleveland this month, but he believes he’s acquired a replacement with better speed and more versatility. He’s obviously well-suited for screen passes, but Miami will play him in the slot, outside and out of the backfield, giving Gase a wide-open opportunity to show off his creativity.

“His speed is hard to ignore,” he said. “We saw first-hand how fast he is and what he can do, how he can stretch the field vertically. When you put the ball in his hands, he makes plays. I don’t think I’ve seen too many wide receivers where a team is actually handing the ball off to him and he’s running between the tackles.

“He has toughness, he has vision and he has ability to do a lot of different things, which is very intriguing to us. We feel like we have a lot of things that we can do with him.”

Wilson, 25, is coming off his best NFL season with 42 catches, 554 yards and three touchdowns for the Chiefs. His top game was the finale against Denver when he had 10 catches for 147 yards. The week before, against Miami he had three for 36.

When Wilson signed, he described this as the chance he’d been fighting for throughout his career and was energized by the thought of playing in Gase’s offense.

“I’m excited to see what I can do with it,” Wilson said.

Gase likes the idea of four-receiver sets with Wilson and fellow newcomer Danny Amendola joining Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker. The Dolphins are also better insured for Parker injuries with Wilson and Amendola both coming aboard. Grant’s still going to be competing for snaps as well, and running back Kenyan Drake is working toward being a bigger part of the passing game.

The best-case scenario for Miami with Wilson is that it landed an up-and-coming talent just about to hit the prime of his career. If that materializes, his three-year $24 million contract will look brilliant. Not only does Wilson look like he’s rising, but pairing him with Gase could prove to be a great match.

He’s a guy that can take a throw behind the line of scrimmage and he can create a 70-yard touchdown,” Gase said. “It’s really impressive what he can do… He has a wider range of route tree than what he did when he started in the NFL.

“I think he’s a quick study as well. When you watch him from 2016 to 2017, you see extremes of improvements in certain areas. I think that’s something we noticed with him right away. When you watch those two years, you went ‘Wow.’ He really became an impact player.”

As far as his height, Gase has no reservations. He’s confident the Dolphins will be the only ones laughing about that once Wilson gets going.

“That means it’s just hard to get your hands on him,” he said. “That’s alright. When you see him, try to touch him and see what happens.”

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2018 NFL free agents: Damien Williams’ curious departure from Miami Dolphins

Damien Williams made some plays for the Dolphins, and they might miss him. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

The departure of running back Damien Williams seems like little more than a footnote on the Dolphins’ busy offseason. Considering they’ve dumped Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and Mike Pouncey over the past month, that’s no insult to Williams.

He leaves after becoming quite a success story for general manager Chris Grier and the organization after making the roster as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and putting himself in position to take over as the starting running back last season. Kansas City signed him to a one-year, $1.5 million contract Thursday.

Things really took off for Williams when he met a coach who knew how to use him. One of Adam Gase’s first undertakings after taking over the Dolphins in January 2016 was to sift through the roster for hidden gems. At Ryan Tannehill’s suggestion, he explored whether Williams had been underutilized by the previous coaching staffs.

He played a career-high 17 percent of the offensive snaps that year and had 115 yards rushing, 249 yards receiving and a career-high six total touchdowns. That was third on the team behind Kenny Stills (nine touchdowns) and Jay Ajayi (six).

Gase spoke of Williams as one of “his” guys and was drawn to his confidence and enthusiasm.

“That’s a guy who loves this sport,” Gase said in November 2016. “He loves competing. He loves practice. When you find a guy who practices the way he does, it’s hard to find that.

“Practice gets monotonous, especially at this point in the season, but he’s always the same guy. He’s always competing, always talking, gives a hard time to the linebackers. He’s a fun guy to be around every day.”

Williams’ relationship with the organization grew complicated in the ensuing offseason, when he wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of playing on the team tender of $1.8 million coming off what he felt was a promising season.

He visited the rival Patriots as a restricted free agent that offseason, but did not come away with an offer sheet. When the deadline passed for other teams to get involved, he deliberately put off signing his tender in protest of the Dolphins not giving him a better deal.

He eventually moved on, though, signed the contract and reported for all of Organized Team Activities, minicamp and training camp. Williams said last season any frustration about the way things went in Spring 2017 were behind him.

“We’re all good,” he said in December. “I’m all good.”

He took it another step by saying he had every intention of remaining with the Dolphins, though at the time he declined to delve too deeply into that because it was during the season and all his attention was on trying to come back from a separated shoulder.

That wasn’t surprising from Williams, who was a frequent recipient of the team’s War Daddy t-shirts. Those are awarded for team-first, gritty performances in games.

When Miami traded Jay Ajayi at the end of October, Gase installed a two-man backfield of Williams and Kenyan Drake that looked like the ideal combination of running backs he wanted. Both are fast and both are better receivers than Ajayi.

Williams, who still worked on special teams as well, was the starter and had 202 total yards and a touchdown in three full games before suffering the shoulder injury against New England on Thanksgiving weekend.

He wanted to return as quickly as possible, but was unable to do so. The Dolphins held him out of the final game of the year, which was meaningless because they’d already been eliminated from the playoff race.

Drake was tremendous once he took over the bulk of the snaps at running back and closed the year with 594 total yards and two touchdowns over the final five games. During that run, Williams was one of his biggest supporters in the locker room and on the sideline.

Williams also appeared to have a good relationship with Gase until the end. A month ago, he pointed back to Williams’ consistent support of Drake, and vice versa.

“Both those guys did a really good job,” Gase said. “They fed off each other. They were happy for each other when they had success.”

Williams had surgery on his shoulder after the season and could miss Organized Team Activities and minicamp for the Chiefs this offseason. While that almost certainly lowered his market in free agency, he is expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp.

Whatever the reason, the Dolphins opted to sort through cheaper running backs near the end of their careers this offseason rather than re-sign Williams. They brought in DeMarco Murray for a visit and ultimately signed Frank Gore yesterday. Gore turns 35 this spring, which is 10 years older than Williams.

While this might not have been the only factor, Gore is a bit cheaper for the cash-strapped Dolphins than Williams.

Even with him taking a pay cut from $1.8 to 1.5 million from last year in signing with Kansas City, that’s a bigger salary cap hit than paying Gore the veteran minimum. Gore will get $1 million in salary, but his cap hit will be even smaller. Last year’s cap hit for the veteran minimum on players with 10 or more years of experience, for example, was $615,000 with the possibility of an $80,000 bonus.

Perhaps that savings was worth it to Miami’s management now, but during the season, Gase might lament that one of his favorite weapons slipped away when it wouldn’t have taken much to keep him.

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New Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson gets landmark opportunity

Albert Wilson is finally out of the bottom of the pile. (Getty Images)

For most of Albert Wilson’s career, he’s had to claw for a roster spot and outwork more experienced and higher paid players for his playing time. His three-year, $24 million contract with the Dolphins changes all of that.

Wilson arrives as a coveted slot receiver and is getting paid like one, leaving no doubt about where he stands in Miami’s plans.

“It’s definitely a blessing,” he said on a conference call this afternoon. “It’s what I’ve been wanting, for my hard work to pay off.

“It’s been a journey of pretty much having to fight from the bottom of the pile and … this time around, God gave me an opportunity where I’m pretty much in front of the pack. We’ve got a pretty good starting point, which I’ve pretty much never had in my career, and I’m excited to see what I can do with it.”

Wilson is coming off a career year in Kansas City, where he put up 42 catches, 554 yards and three touchdowns.

He made the Chiefs’ roster after going undrafted out of Georgia State in 2014, the same year the Dolphins drafted Jarvis Landry in the second round. Now he’s their answer to replace Landry after 4,000 yards in four seasons.

Before Georgia State, Wilson was a prolific quarterback at Port St. Lucie High School, but couldn’t convince big programs to take a chance on him.

He can still play some quarterback it turns out, and that could give coach Adam Gase some creative options in the offense.

“I’ve been working on my arm this offseason,” he said. “When opportunities are coming, you never want to sell yourself short. Whatever the coaches need me to do, I’m just excited to be down here and get in the playbook and work with these guys and get some wins for the team.”

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ESPN’s Bill Barnwell crushes Miami Dolphins’ free agent signings

Danny Amendola will officially become a Miami Dolphin this week. (Getty Images)

The Dolphins’ first two acquisitions in free agency this year are slot receivers Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola. They needed at least one of those guys to replace Jarvis Landry, but perhaps not both.

Perhaps not either of them, actually, according to ESPN analyst Bill Barnwell. He graded both signings a D+.

“Maybe we’ll be sitting here in 12 months remarking on how the Dolphins changed their culture, mustered up most of an offensive line out of thin air, and managed to overcome giving away their best offensive and defensive player to add Robert Quinn and a bunch of wide receivers,” Barnwell wrote. “It’s more likely we’ll be sitting here watching them burn through another pile of money.”

Wilson, 25, is a high-potential player coming off the best season of his career with 42 catches, 554 yards and three touchdowns for Kansas City. The Dolphins will sign him to a three-year, $24 million contract.

Barnwell panned that deal, citing a drops issue and calling him a generally inefficient receiver. He also said Miami’s contract “truly seems beyond any possible expectations of what Wilson might have been offered elsewhere.” One of his main objections was that the team could’ve better spent that money to bolster the offensive line.

While adding Wilson, or someone like him, was certainly logical for the Dolphins after losing Landry, it was a little surprising to see them go after Amendola as well.

Miami typically plays with three receivers, and Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker are the clear options on the outside. Maybe Adam Gase is planning to go with more four-receiver sets in 2018.

If he is, was Amendola the best choice?

He turns 33 during the upcoming season, which will be his 10th in the league, but hasn’t shown signs of decline. His 61 catches and 659 yards both ranked among the top four single-season marks of his career, and he was on the field for 49.9 percent of New England’s offensive snaps.

The issue here could be the contract. Amendola reportedly is signing for two years, $12 million with $8.3 million of that guaranteed.

“Good organizations establish their own culture and draft and develop solutions at positions like slot receiver… Bad organizations are unable to trust their development abilities and pay premiums to go after players on the downside of their careers out of the hope that they can bring some magic success dust from their old homes,” Barnwell wrote.

“In reality, the Dolphins should be looking at what the Patriots do instead of who they are. How often do the Patriots pay $6 million to the fourth wideout on their depth chart? How often do you hear New England leaking stories to the media about how their culture’s a mess to justify bad financial decisions?”

To read the full breakdown of Miami’s free agency moves, and everyone else’s, click here.

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2018 NFL free agents: Chiefs WR Albert Wilson could work for Dolphins

Port St. Lucie product Albert Wilson is a player to watch for the Dolphins in free agency (Getty Images)

Albert Wilson should sound somewhat familiar to people in South Florida. He was a dynamic quarterback for Port St. Lucie High School from 2007 through ’10 before going on to star at receiver for Georgia State and the Kansas City Chiefs.

If that’s a new name for anyone down here, it’ll probably become more prevalent over the next few days. Wilson is one of the Dolphins’ best slot receiver options to replace Jarvis Landry, who is being traded to Cleveland.

Wilson, 25, entered the NFL Draft the same year as Landry, but didn’t get picked. He made the Chiefs’ roster as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and has put up 124 catches, 1,544 yards and seven touchdowns in 55 games (26 starts).

Pro Football Focus ranked Wilson the No. 33 receiver in the league last season.

“He’s worked very hard the past couple of years learning the game,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said in January. “That position takes a little bit of time to get everything down. He’s done it and played well.”

He had a career year last season with 554 yards and three touchdowns on 42 receptions. He’s 5-foot-9, 200 pounds and has good enough speed to contribute in the return game, though Kansas City didn’t use him there much.

Wilson is likely looking for a big contract after earning $3.3 million over his first four seasons, but his market won’t climb anywhere near what Landry was seeking. He made $1.8 million last season.

The Dolphins’ current receivers on the roster who could compete for Landry’s vacancy are Jakeem Grant (13 career catches) and Leonte Carroo (10). There are other free agent possibilities worth considering, as well as quality prospects in next month’s draft.

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Sideline confrontations business as usual in NFL’s high-intensity workplace

No sideline episode drew more attention this season than Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels getting into it. (Getty Images)

DAVIE—Few offices have the extreme competition and moment-by-moment high stakes of the NFL, and it shouldn’t be surprising if conversations on the sideline don’t look quite like those that take place in an accounting firm.

With video of each confrontation readily available to go viral—another big difference from most workplaces—and coach-player relationships always under the media microscope, these arguments often become something bigger to the public than what the participants think it is.

No blow-up in the league drew as much attention as Tom Brady unloading on offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Seattle’s Doug Baldwin got heated enough to shove offensive line coach Tom Cable during an argument two months ago, and Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry got into it with Adam Gase late in Sunday’s loss at Kansas City.

Gase has no aversion to confrontation, which is part of what makes him suited for this profession. After 15 years coaching in the NFL, he sees those sideline exchanges as a normal—healthy, even—part of this environment.

“That (stuff) happens all the time and it’s overblown big-time,” he said before practice today. “(Stuff) like that happens, and unless the TV cameras catch it, nobody notices. Competitive guys, there’s a fire there.

“Whether it’s players or coaches, both sides are trying not to cross a line to attack somebody, but yeah, there’s going to be some discussion and argument. Guys get fired up. It’s the real pros that can move past it and get to the next thing.”

Brady and Baldwin publicly apologized for their incidents, but it seemed like more than anything their intention was to calm down a publicity storm. Both gave the impression that those involved were already carrying on with business as usual.

For Gase and Landry, their shouting match in the Chiefs game didn’t even rise to the level that either thought that was necessary. Gase described himself, Landry and former running back Jay Ajayi as “hotheads” earlier this year and said that was only the second time they’ve had that kind of interaction since Gase took the job almost two years ago.

For his part, Landry said after the game it’s “normal for anyone to show frustration” and he wasn’t trying to embarrass his coach.

As for moving forward in their relationship, which has been positive for both sides throughout their time together, Gase said they gave “each other a little hard time” about the disagreement and that was it.

“To me, it’s never a big deal,” said Gase, who recalled many similar interactions when he coached Peyton Manning and remains close friends with him. “It’s no different than when two coaches get in an argument. That’s football. That’s what happens. When you’re playing a sport that’s as aggressive and violent as this and you talk about energy levels being high and you’re competing and it’s a do-or-die situation, man, every little thing is magnified.

“Everybody wants to win. Everybody’s trying so hard to win that when things go wrong, sometimes it just gets a little vocal.”

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Miami Dolphins 5-foot-7 WR Jakeem Grant runs some dude over (video)

Jakeem Grant had the game of his life. (AP)

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—As the play unfolded, nobody at Arrowhead Stadium expected Dolphins receiver Jakeem Grant to truck Chiefs safety Ron Parker. Even Grant, an extremely confident man, didn’t envision his 5-foot-7 body flattening Parker.

But he did. Grant caught a pass from Jay Cutler at the line of scrimmage and evaded at least three tackles, including plowing Parker, on his route to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown.

“I just made a play,” Grant said. “I just lowered my pads and ran over the guy.

“Didn’t think I was gonna run him over, but I ended up doing it. When he fell off, it was easy running. Great execution by the whole offense there, the linemen getting out and making great blocks and letting me be able to see the holes and execute.”

Grant has been saying for two years he’s more than merely a return man and he’s been proving it over the last few weeks. As his playing time on offense has increased, so has his presence as a big-play threat.

In the win over New England, he made a great jump to catch a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler against cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. He was open on another long pass as well, but dropped it.

In today’s 29-13 loss to the Chiefs, Grant set career-highs with four catches for a team-best 107 yards.

“He played his ass off,” Kenny Stills said. “You see him breaking tackles, getting in the end zone. I think it’s the first time we’ve broken loose on a screen all year. Jakeem’s a special player, and I’m happy for him.

“We see it every day. It’s just a matter of him getting included in the game plan and proving it to the coaches. I’m happy for him.”

While there’s got to be some vindication and satisfaction in putting up that game, Grant was less than joyful considering the Dolphins’ playoff hopes ended.

“It was good, but I’m not worried about the passes and being involved,” he said. “As long as we win, that’s what I’m more focused about. We didn’t do that today, so all that doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Grant has 10 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns this season.

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