Miami’s decision is not exactly surprising. Jones, 32, made the Pro Bowl in 2017, but he has dealt with a number of injuries over the past few seasons, and he suited up for just four games in 2019. The Dolphins plan to deploy Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe at the safety positions in 2020, and the three-year, $18MM extension that Rowe signed with the team in December made a Jones return a questionable proposition at best.
While a reworked contract for Jones was reportedly under consideration, and though the 2010 fifth-rounder expressed back in September that he would like to remain with Miami for the long haul, it always seemed more likely that the Dolphins would cut bait. The team was in trade talks with Pittsburgh at the start of the 2019 campaign, but after an injury-marred season, no one was going to trade for Jones and his $11.5MM salary this offseason.
Still, he should garner plenty of interest on the open market. The Cowboys have been in need of a high-caliber safety for a few years now, and the Browns and Raiders could also be fits. Jones is unlikely to make anywhere close to the $11.5MM he would have earned with Miami, though he may be able to land a fairly lucrative multi-year pact. The Dolphins, meanwhile, will incur a big dead money charge by releasing Jones but will still clear about $5.3MM from their books, leaving the team with close to $100MM of cap space (if a new CBA is agreed to, the team could designate Jones as a post-June 1 cut and spread the dead cap hit over the next two seasons).
Jones was the longest-tenured Dolphin, and he leaves the team with 776 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, 55 passes defensed, 21 interceptions, and six total touchdowns in 128 games (113 starts).
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