Byron Jones

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Wilson, Patriots

Byron Jones is moving toward a lost season, but the Dolphins are not giving up hope on the eighth-year defender. Mike McDaniel did confirm Jones is still not ready to practice due to the ankle and Achilles operation he underwent in March. While the high-priced cornerback was expected to be ready for training camp, it has obviously brought concern he remains on the shelf into Thanksgiving week. McDaniel said this week he is optimistic Jones will, in fact, suit up at some point this season, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes.

The Dolphins have been without Jones and Nik Needham, given a second-round RFA tender to stay in Miami this year, for weeks. Needham is out for the season. Jones’ absence — by far his longest as a pro — has left the 7-3 team shorthanded at corner. It will be interesting to see if Jones can indeed contribute for the Fins this season. By restructuring Jones’ five-year, $82.5MM deal this offseason, the Dolphins added some future dead money to the contract — in the event they want to move on before its conclusion.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Faced with the prospect of a second-year demotion, Zach Wilson may be losing some support in the Jets locker room. Wilson indicated he did not feel his 9-for-22, 77-yard passing performance against the Patriots let the team’s defense down, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes those remarks upset some defenders. The former No. 2 overall pick piloted an offense that totaled 103 yards against the Pats — the fourth-fewest in Jets history — months after a Wilson-led attack set a franchise record with 53 yards in Week 18 of last season. Monday marked the first time Saleh has threatened to bench Wilson, who earned his job back following each of his knee injuries over the past two seasons. Wilson ranks 23rd in QBR (45.1) but is second-to-last in passer rating (72.6).
  • The Patriots placed Christian Barmore on IR last week, but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) the team expects him to return later this season. The second-year defensive tackle has battled knee inflammation for weeks. Surgery is not on the agenda here, per Schefter, who adds New England anticipates Barmore returning after the four-week IR minimum. He is eligible to come back in Week 15.
  • Joining Jones on the injury front, Trey Flowers is unlikely to come off the Dolphins‘ IR list for a bit. McDaniel said (via Jackson) Flowers is not close to returning from the foot injury that sidelined him in mid-October. Flowers is eligible to return from IR this week, but it cannot be assumed he comes off IR this season. The Dolphins do have six injury activations remaining, however, providing some flexibility even when factoring in the Jones situation. Flowers, who sat in free agency for months prior to his Dolphins agreement, played just 65 defensive snaps with his new team this season. Injuries hindered Flowers significantly in Detroit as well. The Dolphins have both he and Emmanuel Ogbah out of the equation at defensive end.
  • Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona said he would like to see his position more respected, salary-wise, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com posits this could affect how Cardona approaches his free agency. Cardona would have his work cut out for him if he takes such a stance. Long snappers are the league’s lowest-paid players, with each earning the league minimum or just north of that. Browns snapper Charley Hughlett signed an extension this year that made him the league’s highest-paid snapper — at $1.4MM per year.

AFC East Rumors: Jets WRs, Davis, Collins, Jones

Second-year wide receiver Elijah Moore made headlines yesterday when he became the second Jets pass catcher to request a trade in the past two months. The frustration leading to the request had been building for weeks, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, as Moore hasn’t quite found the success and production he saw in his rookie season. The team sent him home from practice for a “personal day” yesterday and are not considering trading the 22-year-old.

The other receiver who requested a trade was New York’s second-round draft pick from the year before the Jets selected Moore in the second round: Denzel Mims. Mims has been a healthy scratch for the team’s first six games of the season and, according to him, a trade is “still on the table.”

Here are a few other rumors out of the AFC East, starting with some injury details up in Massachusetts:

  • Patriots safety and core special teamer Cody Davis was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. According to the Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the move is a result of season-ending surgery Davis must undergo to repair a knee injury. It’s a tough loss for the Patriots, who have always valued special teams experts, and a return to the NFL next season will pose a difficult test for Davis, who will turn 34 before he can return.
  • Veteran linebacker Jamie Collins has been serving time with his first career stint on an NFL practice squad during his tenth year in the league. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick seemed to indicate that Collins’ offseason surgery is the reason he’s not on the active roster, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. Belichick insinuated that there’s a conditioning process that Collins will have to go through in order to earn a promotion to the active roster.
  • Although Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones is eligible to return from the team’s physically unable to perform list, the veteran starter is still not ready to play, according to Charean Williams of NBC Sports. Jones is still recovering from a March surgery on his ankle/Achilles area, even though head coach Mike McDaniel claimed multiple times that the team expected Jones back in time for the regular season. Instead, Jones remains on PUP and there is, reportedly, no timeline for his return.

Dolphins HC: Byron Jones’ Rehab Not Progressing Like Team Hoped

On a day in which many teams are designating IR-, PUP- or NFI-stationed players for return, the Dolphins are standing pat with Byron Jones. The high-priced corner will remain on the team’s PUP list, and Mike McDaniel‘s reasoning provides more cause for concern.

The rookie Dolphins HC said Jones is not progressing “as fast as we’d hoped” in his recovery from offseason Achilles surgery, Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN.com tweets. Jones has been on the shelf since early March, when he underwent a surgery that was not supposed to sideline him for nearly as long as it has.

Jones, 30, entered this season having made 30 out of a possible 33 starts with the Dolphins. Miami gave Jones a then-cornerback-record $16.5MM-per-year contract during the 2020 free agency period. That deal led to an issue with Xavien Howard, who has since seen the team redo his contract, and it has not keyed the coverage success the Dolphins hoped. Now, the longest stretch of Jones unavailability is ongoing. The UConn product missed just one game during his five-year Cowboys stay.

Jones’ surgery was believed to require a two-month recovery timetable, but the offseason came and went without practice work commencing. We have now hit the seven-month mark here, but it does not look like the former Cowboys first-round pick will be coming off the Dolphins’ reserve/PUP list this week. Once the Dolphins open Jones’ practice window, he has 21 days to be activated or revert to season-ending IR. Jones, who reworked his contract this offseason, is signed through 2024.

Howard and Nik Needham have been Miami’s primary corners, and despite the team investing a 2020 first-round pick in Noah Igbinoghene, rookie UDFA Kader Kohou has worked as the team’s third corner in Jones’ absence. An Ivory Coast native out of Texas A&M-Commerce, Kohou has started the past two Dolphins games. Howard is uncertain for Miami’s Week 5 game due to a groin injury.

Dolphins Move Down To 53

A few hours ahead of the 3pm CT deadline, the Dolphins slashed their roster to 53 players. Here are the roster moves Miami made to comply with the NFL’s 53-man maximum:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

The team also waived wideouts Preston Williams and Lynn Bowden and moved Byron Jones to the reserve/PUP list, after making a handful of roster moves Monday. Sony Michel is also off the team’s roster.

Miami’s batch of Tuesday moves leave both Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed on the team’s 53-man roster. Both were viewed as cut candidates after the additions of Michel, Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert. But Mostert has been one of the NFL’s most injury-prone players over the past two seasons. It makes sense the Dolphins’ staff is carrying four backs.

Kindley’s exit is also notable. The Dolphins used the 2020 fourth-round pick as a 13-game starter during his rookie season. Last year, however, the team kept the Georgia product mostly on the bench. Kindley made two starts in 2021. Since Kindley’s arrival, the Dolphins have used a second-round pick on Liam Eichenberg and signed Connor Williams. Robert Hunt remains in place as the team’s right guard. Still, with O-linemen in demand at this time of year, it will be interesting to see if a team claims him. Two years remain on Kindley’s rookie contract.

Dolphins Move CB Byron Jones To Reserve/PUP List

Byron Jones has not practiced with the Dolphins this year. As a result, the team will not have one of its highly paid cornerbacks until at least October.

The Dolphins are moving Jones to the reserve/PUP list, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Jones, who is coming off ankle surgery, will not be eligible to play until Week 5. This has become a concern for the Dolphins, as Jones’ surgery occurred back in early March.

This surgery also addressed Jones’ Achilles, but growing concern emerged early during the veteran cover man’s stay on Miami’s active/PUP list during training camp. Jones, who will turn 30 in September, reworked his lucrative contract this offseason. That adjustment locked in the former Cowboy’s $14MM-plus salary for 2022.

But the operation Jones underwent was supposed to have him ready well before camp. That timetable being thrown off will leave the Dolphins shorthanded at corner. While Xavien Howard represents a strong No. 1 option on his own, the Dolphins’ cornerback plan has already not taken shape because of 2020 first-rounder Noah Igbinoghene‘s failure to become a consistent option. The team kept Nik Needham via second-round RFA tender this offseason, however. Miami signed Mackensie Alexander but placed him on IR soon after.

Jones has been with the Dolphins since 2020, when the former Dallas safety signed a then-record $16.5MM-per-year deal in free agency. The Dolphins guaranteed Jones $40MM. Although the former first-round pick has not produced on the level of Howard, which created a separate issue last year, Jones has been durable previously. The UConn product has only missed two games as a Dolphin. If the team is fortunate, Jones will only double that this season. But it is too early to tell when he will be able to return.

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.