The Miami Dolphins entered the last offseason by giving star cornerback Xavian Howard what at the time was the biggest contract in NFL history for a player at his position. They then went out in free agency and signed former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones to an even bigger contract. Both contracts have since been surpassed and Byron Jones now sits as the fifth highest-paid corner in the NFL going into this offseason’s free agency period. Howard clearly lived up to his contract as he was a finalist for the NFL’s Defensive Player Of The Year. On the other side of the field, Jones by no standard lived up to his contract at all.
While Howard was bringing down double-digit interceptions and having several other near picks this past season Jones was allowing 10.6 yards per target and 17.6 yards per completion. Both of those stats place him dead last among all starting cornerbacks in the NFL for the 2020 season. He recorded 43 tackles on the season but also had 10 missed or broken tackles on the season. As far as pass breakups he ended the season with a mere three for the year. Perhaps he comes back stronger in 2021 and gets closer to earning that giant paycheck of his or perhaps he continues his decline. For 2021 he will count $16,100,000 against the cap or 8.3 percent of the total cap just by himself.
So tonight’s Phinsider Question Of The Day is should the Dolphins stick with Jones in hopes that he will recover and once again become the player they expected when they gave him the giant contract or should they look to move on from him via cutting him (which is seemingly a far too costly choice for the team) or trading him or even possibly asking him to restructure his contract to more accurately reflect his quality of play?
As far as the numbers go cutting Jones pre-June 1st is not likely going to happen as it would create $28,400,000 worth of dead cap money for 2021 or in other words, an additional $12,300,000 charge against the cap just to not have him on the roster. Cutting him post-June 1st would still not be great but would be better with $22,100,000 worth of dead cap space which would create $6,000,000 in additional charge against the cap. Trading Jones pre-June 1st would create $8,400,000 in dead money against the cap but would also add $7,700,000 in overall cap savings. Trading him post-June 1st would create $2,100,000 in dead cap space but would also free up an additional $14,000,000 in cap space. Keeping him and restructuring his deal would eliminate any dead money under the cap and could save the team upwards of $10,000,000 or more under the cap.
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