Heading into the offseason, the Miami Dolphins were ranked in the top-10 for the amount of cap space it had to spend on free agents or re-signing players back to the roster. Miami has been spending some of its $216 million dollars in cap to pick up players from other teams.
Byron Jones Joins Dolphins
Arguably the biggest name that stands out is cornerback Byron Jones. Jones is coming over from the Dallas Cowboys after signing a five-year, $82 million dollar contract with $54.5 million guaranteed. The deal also comes with a $15,000 dollar signing bonus and this contract makes him the highest paid CB in the NFL.
Low Combine Prospect Turned High Reward Player
Going into the 2015 NFL combine, Jones was ranked as the No. 25 best CB prospect ranked by NFL.com. Despite the low ranking, Jones was drafted in the first round (27th overall) by the Cowboys. Jones would go on to have a good rookie season as he finished with 65 combined tackles, 47 of them being solo.
Jones’ sophomore season however has been the best of his career. He finished with 81 combined tackles, 67 solo tackles and recorded his first interception as a professional.
From 2016-18 Jones would start every game for Dallas. Jones finished his four-year Cowboy tenure with 349 combined tackles, 270 solo tackles, two INTs and three forced fumbles.
College Days at The University of Connecticut
Prior to the NFL, Jones accepted a scholarship from the University of Connecticut in the American Athletic Conference. As a redshirt freshman, Jones started two games at CB and six games at safety. He recorded 51 tackles, one fumble recovery, 2 INTs and had four defensed passes during the campaign.
Going into his sophomore season, Jones started 12 games at safety and ended up tallying 88 tackles, 1 INT and had two defensed passes.
In Jones’ junior year he switched over to CB and started 11 of 12 games. He registered 60 tackles, three INTs and eight defensed passes.
His senior year likely didn’t go as Jones would’ve liked. He only started seven games, posting 24 tackles, two INT’s and four defensed passes. He ended up missing the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery from an injury suffered in a loss to the East Carolina Pirates. Jones finished his college career with 223 total tackles, eight INTs and added two defensive TD’s.
Breaking Down Jones’ Versatility
Jones’ professional and college numbers display the versatile player that he is. Jones made the Pro Bowl despite just two career INTs in Dallas. With Dallas playing cover defenses a lot of times, opposing teams opted to throw in directions Jones wasn’t. However, his days as a Husky show his strengths in man-defense. Jones has the abilities to scoop and score, force turnovers and single-handedly disrupt opposing teams’ game plans.
With Miami fronting man-defense a lot under Flores, teams will have to choose between throwing in Jones’ direction or Xavien Howard’s direction. With both being the top-two paid CB’s in the NFL, neither option is pretty.
Kayla Morton contributed the final two paragraphs to this article.