Byron Jones

Latest On Dolphins’ Byron Jones

As their training camp opened up last month, the Dolphins placed cornerback Byron Jones on the PUP list. Recent remarks made on his status by head coach Mike McDaniel furthered the level of uncertainty surrounding the 29-year-old. 

McDaniel acknowledged, via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, that “there is concern” with where Jones is at during his recovery. The former Pro Bowler had ankle surgery in March, a procedure which was, at the time, said to require only a two-month recovery period. Unease over the fact that the calendar has flipped to August and he has still not been able to return to the field is therefore justifiable.

McDaniel added, on the other hand, that he still expects Jones to be available for the beginning of the regular season. Assuming that happens, Miami will boast one of the best 1-2 CB tandems in the league between Jones and Xavien Howard. A contract restructure finalized by the former allowed, in part, for the substantial raise given to the latter as part of a busy offseason in South Beach.

We’re confident [in] how he’s rehabbing; if he has a setback, then there would be concern,” McDaniel added. Jones’ progress will remain a situation worth watching in the coming weeks, given his importance to the team in the short-term. Given his scheduled cap hits of more than $18MM in 2023 and 2024, a return to full health would also be a welcomed sight for the team from a financial perspective.

Dolphins Place CB Byron Jones On PUP List

The list of notable players beginning training camp on the active/PUP list continues to grow. The Dolphins announced on Friday that they will be without cornerback Byron Jones for at least the short term. 

The 29-year-old is still recovering from ankle surgery he had earlier this offseason. The procedure was aimed a remedying a lingering issue, one which wasn’t severe enough to limit his playing time in 2021. Given the fact that an estimated two month recovery period was reported at the time, it is somewhat concerning that the former Cowboy still hasn’t healed in full.

In two seasons with the Dolphins, Jones has totalled a pair of interceptions, 14 pass deflections and 95 tackles, repeating a similar level of play in terms of pass coverage across those campaigns. He has another three (non-void) years remaining on the free agent deal which sent him to Miami, a contract which Jones agreed to re-work not long after his injury. The move helped create cap space for 2022, making the additions of Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead easier to absorb. It also raised his cap hits in 2023 and 2024 above $18MM, however, something made more significant by the new contract fellow corner Xavien Howard signed this offseason.

Jones can be activated at any time by the Dolphins, and there has been no indication that they will have to wait much longer to see him back on the field. Assuming he does return to full health in time for the season, Miami will once again have one of the better CB duos in the league, as the team’s secondary looks to help the team emerge as a postseason contender.

Dolphins, CB Byron Jones Rework Contract

The Dolphins are working to keep one the league’s most respected cornerback tandems together in Miami while retaining a bit of spending ability under the salary cap. According to Field Yates of ESPN, cornerback Byron Jones agreed to a reworked contract today to help create some cap space. 

The Dolphins converted $13.26MM of the base salary due to Jones in 2022 into a signing bonus. Along with clearing $750,000 of cap space by reworking the contract of safety Clayton Fejedelem, Miami was able to create $11.35MM of cap space. With the release of offensive lineman Jesse Davis and wide receiver Allen Hurns yesterday, the Dolphins have cleared $17.55MM of cap space in the course of two days.

The new available spending money makes the recent additions of tackle Terron Armstead and wide receiver Tyreek Hill (who was extended after his trade from Kansas City) a bit easier to stomach. Jones was able to joke about helping the team acquire such talent, tweeting out clown-faced emojis meant, in his words, to depict “(him) restructuring (his) contract just to have Tyreek Hill burn (him) everyday in practice.”

The Dolphins’ focus will now likely shift to the other side of the secondary with cornerback Xavien Howard. Howard is reportedly seeking an increase in salary and a reworked deal could kill two birds with one stone: getting Howard a new and improved deal while creating a bit more cap space for Miami.

Latest On Dolphins’ Byron Jones, Xavien Howard

Cornerback is arguably the strongest position group on the Dolphins, but it is also one of the most intriguing ones for this offseason. Byron Jones recently had ankle surgery, something which affects not only his contract, but also any potential trade market. 

The 29-year-old posted a photo of his ankle after the surgery on Instagram. The ailment didn’t stop him from playing in 16 games this season, his second in Miami. He totalled 58 tackles and 10 pass breakups, while performing essentially the same in coverage as he did in 2020.

As Cameron Wolfe of NFL Network reports, the procedure fixed a lingering issue and is expected to keep the former Pro Bowler on the shelf for two months (video link). That should mean he is available in time for training camp, though, Wolfe adds, it makes his $14.375MM salary fully guaranteed. That would complicate any potential trade market for Jones, something which had reportedly been developing. It would also make a run at another top corner – such as J.C. Jackson, whom Wolfe reports Miami has shown interest in – more difficult.

Meanwhile, Wolfe further reports that Xavien Howard could be in line for a re-worked contract (Twitter link). While there is “no deal close yet”, Wolfe adds that Howard “wants to be paid what he deserves”. That would mean a raise from the $13.7MM he is set to make next year, which ranks second on the team to Jones at the position. With 15 interceptions over the past two seasons, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year finalist has demonstrated he is among the most productive defensive players at any position in the league.

As free agency approaches, then, what can be considered one of the most accomplished cornerback tandems in the league is set to be one worth watching.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Jets, Jones

The Patriots may have the top bargain at the quarterback position this season, with Cam Newton making league-minimum money (plus incentives) on his one-year deal. This reality would not be unfolding had Tom Brady come to terms with the Patriots on an extension ahead of the 2019 season. Prior to the Pats and Brady agreeing on an in-name-only extension that allowed him to become a free agent in 2020, the team made its legendary passer a two-year, $53MM extension offer, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The number here is notable, considering it would have represented a raise for Brady on a through-2021 commitment. While Brady was seeking an extension similar to the one Drew Brees had signed with the Saints in 2018, he almost certainly landed a better deal — two years, $50MM fully guaranteed — with the Buccaneers this March.

Although the Pats were prepared to consider Brady counteroffers in February and March of this year, Howe adds Brady’s camp did not make one. A previous report indicated, however, the Patriots did not make a strong effort to re-sign Brady this year — a strategy that rubbed the free agent passer the wrong way.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Following his 397-yard passing performance against the Seahawks, Newton has firmly re-established himself as an extension candidate. Given his injury history, however, the Patriots would probably like to see if their new QB1 can hold up for a full season or at least for most of it before beginning contract talks. Newton said during a recent radio interview an extension is “literally the last of my worries,” per WEEI.com’s Ryan Hannable. The 31-year-old quarterback also indicated he did not want to become mired in a back-and-forth negotiation with the Pats when he signed in June, leading to his incentive-laden deal. Were Newton to stay healthy this season, however, a negotiation would seemingly commence and end with the former MVP signed to a deal more lucrative than his 2015 Panthers extension.
  • The Dolphins will be without Byron Jones against the Jaguars. Miami ruled out its high-priced free agent acquisition, who landed on the injury report with Achilles and groin issues. Jones left the Dolphins’ Week 2 game against the Bills in the first quarter. This will only be his second missed game since arriving in the NFL in 2015.
  • More wideout injury trouble for the Jets. They will be without Breshad Perriman for a game or two with an ankle ailment, Adam Gase said this week. Gang Green is already down Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims. Crowder is not certain to return in Week 3, and Mims must reside on IR through Week 4.
  • Le’Veon Bell dropped a considerable amount of weight this offseason, coming into this season at 210 pounds. With a CBS broadcast indicating Bell lost 24 pounds, this would have placed the former All-Pro at 234 last year — above his listed playing weight. Bell’s conditioning was a concern within the organization, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Bell is currently on IR and almost certainly in his final season as a Jet.
  • The Patriots have asked second-round rookie Josh Uche to morph from college pass rusher to all-around linebacker, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Perhaps this developmental role resulted in Uche being a healthy scratch in Week 1, with the Pats having third-round linebacker Anfernee Jennings active over him. Uche has yet to play this season; he was inactive because of an ankle injury in Week 2. The ex-Michigan Wolverine, however, is off the Pats’ injury report ahead of their Week 3 game against the Raiders.

Raiders Offered More Money For Byron Jones

Byron Jones just became the league’s highest-paid cornerback when the Dolphins agreed to pay him $82.5MM over five years, and he actually turned down even more money.

The Raiders offered more money annually than Miami did, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). However, the Dolphins bested them in one crucial aspect, the front-loaded nature of the contract. Garafolo reports that Vegas’ deal was more spread out, while Miami’s will give Jones $40MM just within the first two years.

As he points out, both teams will be playing in states with no state income tax, putting even more cash in Jones’ pocket. It’s often speculated that Raiders owner Mark Davis doesn’t have quite as much cash on hand as other NFL owners, and it’s worth wondering if that played a role in the team’s reluctance to front-load a deal.

The Raiders have been perhaps the moost aggressive team in free agency overall, signing a whole bunch of guys including Nick Kwiatkoski, Cory Littleton, Marcus Mariota, Jason Witten, Jeff Heath, Maliek Collins, and Carl Nassib. Jones had a very active market, and was the consensus top corner available.

Dolphins To Sign CB Byron Jones

Just moments after James Bradberry agreed to sign with the Giants, another top cornerback has been taken off the market. Byron Jones has inked a deal with the Dolphins, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). It’s a five-year, $82.5 million deal, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The deal includes $57MM guaranteed and $40MM through the first two seasons.

The contract will make Jones the highest-paid player at his position, with the deal paying him $16.5MM annually. We heard last week that the market for the cornerback was expected to “start” at $16-17MM per year. Jones new teammate, Xavien Howard, previously led all cornerbacks with a $15.05MM annual salary.

ESPN’s Josina Anderson tweets that the Dolphins were willing to give Jones more guaranteed money than rival suitors, while Rapoport notes that the Raiders made a competitive offer to the defensive back (via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). Further, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets that both Miami and Vegas offered “huge money in tax-free states,” but Miami’s structure of up-front money appealed to Jones.

A number of teams, including the Raiders, Broncos, Lions, Eagles, Giants, and Jets, had been connected to Jones at some point during the offseason. The Cowboys had expressed some optimism in retaining the Pro Bowler. However, the Cowboys had some bigger fish to fry with both Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, and it’s uncertain if they could afford Jones’ new pact, anyway.

Jones, 27, played safety during his first three years in Dallas but switched to corner in 2018, promptly earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. In 2019, Jones started 14 games for the Cowboys, and ranked 14th in both Pro Football Focus‘ CB grades and Football Outsiders‘ success rate metric.

CB Rumors: Harris, Bills, Jones, Dolphins, Trufant, Jets

The latest on key cornerbacks from around the NFL:

  • The Jets remain zeroed in on James Bradberry, but they’re also in the hunt for a second free agent cornerback. That search could lead them to Desmond Trufant, Connor Hughes of The Athletic tweets. Trufant will be cut loose by at Atlanta this week.
  • The Dolphins are among the clubs that have discussed impending Dallas free agent Byron Jones, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. You can add Miami to the list of previously reported suitors for Jones, which includes the Jets, Raiders, and Eagles.
  • More from Anderson (via Twitter), who notes that the Bills are now in on veteran Chris Harris. They join the Cowboys, Bills, Jets, Raiders, and other clubs in search of the experienced secondary help that Harris would provide.

Byron Jones Likely To Become NFL’s Highest-Paid CB

The market for Cowboys free agent cornerback Byron Jones is expected to “start” at $16-17MM per year, which would make Jones the NFL’s highest-paid corner, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Jones is widely expected to leave Dallas, where the Cowboys simply have too many other stars — namely Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper — to re-sign before they can turn their attention to Jones. Thus far, a number of clubs have been tied to the Jones market, including the Raiders, Broncos, Lions, Eagles, Giants, and Jets.

The Dolphins’ Xavien Howard currently leads all cornerbacks with a $15.05MM annual salary. Recently-released Jet Trumaine Johnson had been second at $14.5MM, while the Vikings’ Xavier Rhodes, who could be cut himself in a matter of days, is third at $14.02MM. Jones should easily top all those figures, especially if interested parties drive up his price.

Jones, 27, played safety during his first three years in Dallas but switched to corner in 2018, promptly earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. In 2019, Jones started 14 games for the Cowboys, and ranked 14th in both Pro Football Focus‘ CB grades and Football Outsiders‘ success rate metric.

Jets Interested In Byron Jones

The Jets’ need for cornerback help could lead to big spending in that area. The Jets are showing interest in pending Cowboys free agent Byron Jones, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com

Cimini cautions that GM Joe Douglas might not want to reset the cornerback market with Jones or fellow top FA CB James Bradberry, but it’s a major hole for the Jets and they might not be able to resist the chance to land a top-tier corner. Solid cornerbacks rarely become available, so they tend to get overpaid. Those deals have yielded mixed results – Cimini notes that the Patriots’ big spend on Stephon Gilmore panned out, though others have not.

Jones is only 27 and many expect him to land a deal worth at least $15MM/year. The Eagles, Giants, and Lions, are a few of the teams that could make a play for him, and the list goes on from there. The Broncos, once thought to be a suitor, will probably put their attention elsewhere after landing A.J. Bouye, who will take over for longtime standout Chris Harris.

The cornerback market hasn’t moved much as of late. When the Dolphins re-upped Xavien Howard and made him the highest paid CB in the NFL, his $15.1MM AAV barely edged Josh Norman‘s 2016 deal. Jones could change that: he’s the belle of the ball, and it might take $16MM, or $17MM, per annum to land him.