The Dolphins are making good on their promise to take care of the players who have given them great years, and that helps them on several fronts. The four-year extension they nailed down with Reshad Jones will keep him content, send a message throughout their locker room and secure arguably their best defensive player.
Jones is locked in for $60 million over the next five years—he was already in line for $8 this season—and that looks like a good value considering Eric Berry just got $78 million over six. Jones will get $35 million guaranteed in his new contract.
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, whose relationship with Jones goes back to when Grier scouted him at the University of Georgia, was calm and confident last week when asked about getting an extension done.
“He’ll be here,” Grier said. “I think he loves being here and he and Coach Gase have a great relationship.”
He had his best season in 2015, making the Pro Bowl with 135 tackles, five interceptions and 10 passes defensed, and looked like he was playing even better last year. Jones was right there with Ndamukong Suh as the most important players on Miami’s defense before tearing his rotator cuff in Week 6.
That injury ended his season, but he’s already back and ready to go for the offseason program.
“He’s had a great rehab,” Grier said. “He looks like he never missed a day. I wish I had his genetics… We anticipate him being there.”
Wrapping up Jones helps the organization back up the philosophy it has put forward to players under Gase, Grier and vice president Mike Tannenbaum. They want young players like Jay Ajayi and Laremy Tunsil to see that if they prove themselves worthy, the team will reward them with rich, long-term deals.
“To have sustainability, we want to take care our own,” Tannenbaum said. “We want to take care of our locker room. We ask a lot of our guys.
“We’re going to try to lean heavily towards keeping our own and building our program here, drafting and developing our own and getting coached by our guys. We are lockstep in terms of, philosophically, that’s going to be our approach.”
Miami has already done that by making deals with wide receiver Kenny Stills and defensive end Andre Branch and paying Jones. The team also gave Cameron Wake a sizable extension after his comeback season.
The next guy in line for a new contract is Jarvis Landry, someone the Dolphins have acknowledged as a priority but don’t appear to be close to extending. He’ll make $1.1 million next season and would become an unrestricted free agent a year from now if he doesn’t get a deal from Miami.
“He’s still another year out, so right now we’re just trying to make sure we can take care of these other guys,” Grier said. “But Jarvis is a very important piece, obviously. He’s big in South Florida and has unbelievable passion and love for the game. He’s an important part for us, so hopefully we’ll get something done in the future.”
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