Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland handed $91 million in guaranteed money and over $200 million in total contract dollars this offseason. He was aggressive in outsourcing free agents that wanted to take their talents to South Beach at the right price. There were a couple of in-house free agents he needed to retain – Brian Hartline, Matt Moore, Nate Garner, and Chris Clemons are the biggest names that come to mind. However, amidst all this free agent spending is a player that apparently feels neglected.
Reshad Jones, a 2010 fifth-round pick, has truly blossomed into a playmaking safety for the Dolphins. He had a Pro Bowl caliber season in 2012, excelling in both coverage and run support. According to Pro Football Focus, he finished the year as a top-three safety with only Eric Weddle and Jarius Byrd ahead of him. He is absolutely a building block for the Dolphins and their youth movement, and a bright spot in a completely rebuilt secondary.
According to Pro Football Focus, after starting all 16 games, Jones recorded 95 tackles, nine passes defended four picks, and a sack. Additionally, he allowed a 38 passer rating into coverage, which ranked fifth among NFL safeties. His playing time numbers enabled him to hit escalators in his rookie contract, which bumped up his 2013 pay to $1.323 million from $575,000. Jones feels underpaid and wants contract negotiations to get underway, which is why he skipped the first day of OTAs, all due to the discontentment of his contract. On the next day, Jones agreed to go to OTAs in exchange for “eventual” contract negotiations with Jeff Ireland.
With all of that being said – should Ireland pony up the dough? Ireland needs to start contract negotiations as soon as possible, but he needs to be careful not to overpay. Jones absolutely deserves a payday for his stellar 2012 performance. However, let’s not forget that Jones has one year of elite production under his belt, so his track record remains unproven. That’s good news for Ireland because he can use that in contract talks. If Ireland can sign Jones to a team-friendly contract all because he convinces Jones and his agent that he only produced one great season, that’ll allow Ireland to sign a young, promising, and supremely talented player at a bargain price. Ireland needs to be careful not to commit big bucks to a player that may or may not be a one-year wonder. The longer Ireland waits, the more expensive Jones gets. Oakland’s Tyvon Branch signed a four-year, $26.6 million contract with $17.6 million in guarantees last offseason. A deal of that caliber would be a win for both sides.no comments