The Miami Dolphins have made several moves this offseason to help improve their defense, but they may have to make another key move if star safety Reshad Jones decides to holdout when training camp begins.
Jones is not happy with his contract and skipped the first day of the Dolphins’ mandatory minicamp Tuesday to make his point. The 28-year-old, coming off a career season, is in jeopardy of being fined $76,000 by Miami if he missed all three days of the camp, according to the Associated Press. He is in the third year of a four-year deal and is scheduled to make $7.25 million this season along with $7.085 million in 2017.
Jones was the only player to amass 100 tackles and five interceptions in the NFL last year. He led the ‘Phins in several categories, including total tackles (135), solo tackles (106), interceptions (5), and touchdowns (2). Jones also had two sacks, six tackles for loss, 10 passes defensed, and one recovered fumble.
Jones wants to become one of the highest-paid safeties. He also missed all of Miami’s voluntary activities this spring. Jones is currently the fourth highest paid safety behind Eric Berry ($10.8 million franchise tag), Earl Thomas ($8 million), and Jarius Byrd ($7.4 million).
“Our discussions, right now, we’re going to keep that stuff in house,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase told reporters on Monday. “We’re not trying to make public statements about anything [regarding Jones] right now.”
Jones has reportedly given in and will be at the team’s mini-camp Thursday, but that doesn’t necessary mean that the dispute is over. He is likely could have reported to avoid being fined.
SB Nation is reporting that Berry is skipping the Kansas City Chiefs minicamp.
With Jones absent, Michael Thomas, and Isa Abdul-Quddas had been working with the first-team defense. The safety position, along with the defensive line, is considered a strength of the defense.
Thomas, who is entering his fourth season, had 85 tackles and two passes defensed in 16 games last year in his first extensive action of his career. The 27-year-old has 106 tackles in his career.
Abdul-Quaddas came over to the Dolphins for Detroit on a three-year, $12.75 million deal. Miami brought the 26-year-old due to his intellect, athleticism, and coverage range. He had 57 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and six passes defensed.
Shamiel Gary, Walt Aikens, and two rookies – A.J. Hendy and Jordan Lucas – are the other safeties on the roster. Gary, 26, had 26 tackles last year and Aikens, 24, had 29 tackles last year. Aikens is very athletic and is considered to have the potential to grow a lot.
If Jones’ holdout continues into the regular season or any of the other safeties suffer an injury, the Miami Herald is reporting that the Dolphins may bring in a veteran to replace him. Two names specifically that have been throw around are Antrel Rolle and Louis Delmas.
Rolle spent the 2015 season with the Chicago Bears, recording 30 tackles and one pass defended in seven games before suffering a knee injury. The 33-year-old graded out as the 39th best safety by Pro Football Focus. Rolle has 834 tackles and 26 interceptions in his 11-year career while also playing for the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals.
Rolle, ranked as the eighth-best defensive free agent by Pro Football Rumors, has not garnered a lot of attention on the open market. That could change as training camps are about to open. He has expressed interest in returning to the Giants. The Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Indianapolis Colts could also be interested.
Delmas missed all of last season with a torn ACL. The 29-year-old appeared in 13 games with the Dolphins in 2013, recording 60 sacks and one sack. He also had two fumble recoveries, three passes defensed, and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown. The 2009 second-round selection of the Detroit Lions has 392 tackles with seven interceptions and six sacks for his career.
Last year, Kam Chancellor missed the first two weeks of the regular season as a result of his contract dispute with the Seattle Seahawks. His holdout cost him $1.1 million in fines, $500,000 in signing bonus forfeiture, and about $534,000 in lost salary for a total of about $2.13 million in potential lost earnings.
Mario Williams also missed the first day of mini-camp.
[Photo by Wilfredo Lee/AP Images]