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After two straight wins, feelings around the Miami Dolphins have shifted a bit. The win against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night in Week 10 has some believing that Miami’s defense is back to playing as they did in 2020.
With those beliefs, the Dolphins are still just 3-7 on the year and are in third place in the AFC East, so we’re still reflecting on some of the poor decisions that got this team to where they are.
Bleacher Reports’ Brent Sobleski took it upon himself to list the worst contract for every team in the league for 2021. For the Dolphins, he chose cornerback Byron Jones’ five-year deal worth $82.5 million that was signed last season.
Here’s what Sobleski wrote:
“Timing and situation are everything when it comes to free agency.
Byron Jones became one of the league’s best cornerbacks while working in Rod Marinelli’s Cover 2-inspired scheme with the Dallas Cowboys. When he reached free agency in 2020, the Miami Dolphins made him the game’s highest-paid cornerback (for about six months).
The deal became problematic on two fronts.
First, Jones entered a new system and hasn’t been the same player. Second, his deal created tension with Miami’s standout corner, Xavien Howard, who was a first-team All-Pro in 2020.
Howard wanted a reworked deal commensurate with his performance, asked for a trade this offseason and engaged in a short-lived holdout. Eventually, the two sides worked out their differences.
Still, Jones has cap hits of $16 million or more over each of the next three seasons if the Dolphins decide to move forward with him.”
Jones hasn’t been great since signing with Miami last offseason. He’s allowed completions on 61.6% of his targets (a step up from 52.8% in his last two years with Dallas) and a passer rating over 100.
Where Sobleski is spot on is his point about how the contract affected Howard. If Jones had never been made the highest-paid cornerback in the same locker room, would Howard be looking for multiple contract adjustments? That’s a fair question to ask.
If the Dolphins are going to try to salvage this season as a decent one instead of horrendous, Jones will need to step up and play like he’s worth that $82.5 million.