In a move that has been seen for some time as inevitable, the decade-long relationship between the Dolphins and safety Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones will officially come to an end on March 18, when he is set to be released by the team.
A fifth round pick out of Georgia in 2010, Jones quickly established himself as a premier player in the league and undaunted by a four game PED suspension in 2014, brashly proclaimed himself “the best safety in football”.
To that end, Jones lived up to the hype rounding out 2014 solidly before delivering a career year in 2015. However, persistent shoulder injuries took their toll with Jones, finishing two of the next four seasons on injured reserve.
”We want to thank Reshad for everything he has done for the Miami Dolphins,” said general manager Grier in a statement. “I have known Reshad since spending time with him at Georgia and have been impressed with everything he’s been able to accomplish. We wish him the best moving forward.”
Many observers expected the Dolphins to part ways with Jones prior to the 2019 season. However his contract structure made the concept of cutting him problematic while he dealt with a recurrence of shoulder surgeries over the past few years.
Jones, who signed a five-year, $60 million deal in March 2017, was set to make $11.5 million in 2020, with $2 million already guaranteed.
In 10 seasons for the Dolphins, The two-time Pro Bowl selection recorded 21 interceptions, 10.5 sacks and 4 defensive touchdowns. Jones played in just four games in 2019, and attained 27 tackles and a pass deflection before ending up on the the injured reserve.
With Jones’s salary cap hit being more agreeable for 2020, the Dolphins appear to have now decided that the risk-reward pendulum is at such a position that moving on is the preferred course of action.
Miami’s decision to cut Jones will still keep him on the check book for the 2020 season. Although they will save $5.3 million in salary cap space, the Dolphins will still see in excess of $10.1 million in dead cap in 2020.
This leaves the question of where the team goes from this point forth. It is unlikely that salary cap savings were the sole determinant in the Dolphin’s decision as the team already had a huge war chest of money and the savings associated with cutting Jones hardly deliver a financial bonanza.
It appears the coaching staff simply sees no further place for Jones moving forward, with both Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe taking increasingly bigger roles in the defensive backfield as last season progressed.
While both McCain and Rowe have been solid at times, they are both also prone to an equal share of head-scratching moments on the field and as such, it remains a possibility that the Dolphins will open the check book andfurther address the safety position in free agency with a player such as Anthony Harris from the Vikings or the 49ers’ Jimmie Ward who has the versatility that Coach Flores covets.
As for Jones, he will not be a part of the Dolphins organization for the the first time since the late Tony Sparano was patrolling the sideline.
It is unlikely that Jones will remain on the unemployment line for long and will surely land on a team’s training camp roster somewhere in the near future. However, the questions remains to whether a thirty-two year old safety with recurrent shoulder issues can secure a permanent spot on a team’s 53 man roster moving forward.
Nonetheless, thank you Reshad for your decade long service to the Miami Dolphins.