Miami Dolphins: Pros and Cons to Signing Reshad Jones to an Extension
The news was first reported by Adam Schefter:
Dolphins signed S Reshad Jones to a four-year, $30 million extension.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 5, 2013
Jones is coming off his best season in 2012, a season where he complied 74 tackles, nine pass deflections, four interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Pro Football Focus graded Jones with the fifth-highest grade for a safety. That's not the fifth-highest grade in 2012; it's the fifth-highest grade since they began grading players in 2008.
The only player graded ahead of Jones in 2012 was Buffalo's Jarius Byrd. Byrd is currently in the middle of a holdout due to his current refusal to sign the franchise tag tender of $6.9 million offered by the Buffalo Bills, per Marc Sessler of NFL.com.
The Byrd situation in Buffalo presents two of the pros to Miami signing Jones to the extension: Byrd's next contract following the 2013 season will set the market for safeties in 2014, when Jones was also expected to be a free agent.
Currently, the only terms to the deal that have been released, thus far, have been the overall length of the contract (four years) as well as the salary and guaranteed money through the four years ($30 million, with $15 guaranteed).
Just want 2 take this time 2 thank God for this blessing!! And thank the dolphins Organization, family,friends, and fans that be believed!— Reshad Jones (@reshadjones9) August 6, 2013
The cap hit for 2014 has not been released yet, but its fairly safe to say that it will likely be less than what Jarius Byrd will get in 2014 and less than a franchise tag or whatever the Dolphins would have had to pay had they waited on the contract.
The other pro to this deal is that it frees up the franchise tag to be used on other players for the Dolphins.
Along with Jones, some of the other potential free agents next year include Randy Starks (who received the franchise tag this year), Paul Soliai (tagged in 2011), John Jerry, Brent Grimes, Dustin Keller, Tyson Clabo, Chris Clemons and Richie Incognito.
With Jones under contract until 2017, Miami is free to use the tag on any of those other players next season, with Richie Incognito and Brent Grimes being two of the most likely players to get tagged.
However, there is a risk to this extension that also involves losing the franchise tag to use on Jones: the risk that Jones' 2012 season was the peak of his career.
Considering that Jones is only 25 (and will only be 29 when his contract expires) I doubt that it will be the peak of his career. This is the NFL, though, and injuries happen.
Letting Jones play out 2013, then tagging him for 2014 would have allowed the Dolphins to play it safer with Jones to see how he produces in the next two years before committing big money and big years toward him.
On the flip side of that, you also leave his 2014 cap number to the whims of the franchise tag at safety. It's at $6.9 million this season, but could go up next season. It's likely that Jones will receive less than that in 2014, but we will find that out once we see the full terms of the contract.
Losing out on the flexibility that tagging Jones could give the Dolphins is the only con to signing him to an extension, which also provides the Dolphins with the biggest pro of them all: It slightly improved the image of Jeff Ireland.
Did the Miami Dolphins do the right thing by extending Reshad Jones' contract?
Jones skipped an offseason conditioning program and the first day of OTAs this offseason due to his unhappiness with his current contract. According to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald, Ireland told Jones' agent that discussions on a new contract would begin if Jones reported to OTAs.
Jones would report the next day, and by hammering out a contract in early August, it helps to make Jeff Ireland look better.
This will hopefully mean that if the Dolphins are successful this season and keep Ireland, the Dolphins won't have to repeat overpaying in order to acquire someone as they have done in years past.
Overall, the Dolphins made the smart decision in re-signing Reshad Jones, a player, who if he remains healthy, should be a cornerstone on this team for years to come.
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