The biggest news coming out of the AFC East today emerged out of Miami, with Dolphins safety Reshad Jones considering a season-long holdout if his contract is not addressed. Here’s the latest from South Florida and other AFC East locales on Saturday.
- The Dolphins did put money toward their safety position this offseason by adding Isa Abdul-Quddus on a three-year, $12.75MM contract. Unlike Jones, who can be fined $10K per each day of missed training camp, Abdul-Quddus is working out with the Dolphins. The 26-year-old back-line presence stands to become a starting full-time safety for the first time after starting 12 games with the Lions between the 2014-15 campaigns. He’s spoken to Jones during the offseason and awaits being paired with the 28-year-old longtime Fins strong safety. “I can’t wait to learn from him. I feel we’re both versatile safeties. We can both play in the post and in the box,” Abdul-Quddus told media, including Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
- Although the Patriots traded Chandler Jones to the Cardinals in April, they still stand to return most of their defensive starters from 2015. As for the long-term prospects of some of their contract-year performers? It might be asking a lot to retain both Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower after ’16. Collins will seek to “break the bank,” Ben Volin of the Boston Globe said (via CSNNE.com, video link) on his second contract, be it a Pats extension or in free agency. Volin does not expect both Hightower and Collins to return in 2017 and sees Collins being the more difficult to retain. The versatile outside linebacker cannot be under Patriots control next season without the use of the franchise tag or a long-term deal, one that could surpass all non-rush linebackers save for maybe Luke Kuechly‘s $12.3MM-per-year deal. Collins rated as Pro Football Focus’ fifth-best pure linebacker last season.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s reported counter to the Jets‘ frontloaded three-year, $24MM offer was to play on a one-year, $12MM deal. However, Gang Green isn’t going for that. A compromise between Fitzpatrick’s stance of wanting long-term security and the Jets seeking to protect themselves in case the inconsistent starter cannot stay on the level he displayed in 2015 would be on a one-year, $8MM deal with incentives, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com said (via CSNNE.com, video link). Breer notes the Jets may have correctly gambled that Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be able to procure thet franchise quarterback-type deal he sought after a career-best season and that the team could soon impose a deadline for the 33-year-old passer to move forward with or without him.
- Unless an established starter suffers a significant injury during OTAs or during a mandatory minicamp, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com doesn’t expect much to change about the parties’ stances in this impasse. La Canfora, who writes Fitzpatrick has no leverage in this situation given that teams have formed their quarterback plans for 2016 after the draft, expects Fitz to sign with the Jets just before training camp. Although it’s true Fitzpatrick doesn’t have an obvious outside suitor in these talks, what little leverage he may have comes from the prospect of the Jets returning the keys to Geno Smith, a player who might not remain on the team should Fitzpatrick sign the proposed three-year deal.
- Once thought a reasonable bet to return during training camp or the preseason, Sammy Watkins doesn’t seem like a lock now to be on the field for the Bills come Week 1.