Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry says team matters more than contract

Jarvis Landry swears he won’t be a problem. It’s time to believe him. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—At some point, people have to take Jarvis Landry at his word.

He’s playing on one of the biggest bargain contracts in the NFL and obviously he’d like an extension that matches his production as the Dolphins’ best offensive player, but he’s not going to cause a problem over it.

Landry was here for the opening practice of training camp, bright and early and smiling about the usual 90-plus-degree heat of a South Florida summer morning. Just like he was here for voluntary offseason work, including every minute of Organized Team Activities and minicamp.

Of course he was here. He’s always here. He said he would be, coach Adam Gase felt confident enough back in March to vow that he’d be on the field and sure enough he showed up smiling. He said he never even considered holding out, and he’s got a strong enough track record at this point that it’s overly cynical to keep questioning his honesty.

“For me, being a leader and having an opportunity to take another step, we don’t need anything hindering us,” he said. “For me to be here and show the guys that it is about them and it is about the team, that’s what I’m here to do.”

It would have been ideal for both sides to reach an agreement before camp and avoid the scenario of Landry of playing out the last year on his contract at $1.1 million, but it wasn’t imperative. While the slow process might color Landry’s private view of the organization going forward–especially after seeing Reshad Jones, Kenny Stills and Andre Branch sign for a total of $116 million—it’s clear he won’t let it affect the upcoming season.

There’s still a lot of time for Miami and Landry to work something out before the Sept. 10 season opener, but even that date isn’t being posed as a deadline.

“I’m out here just focusing on now, focusing on all the things that I control every time I step on the field,” he said when asked specifically about that subject. “Everything else, man, is out of my hands and out of my control. I leave that with God.”

The possibility still looms that negotiations will hit a rough patch during the next month or so and strike a nerve with Landry, but even that won’t be enough to derail him. He’s got big ambitions this season, and he’ll get paid either way if he stays on his current trajectory. If that means the Dolphins franchise tag him for upwards of $15 million next season, an option mentioned by owner Stephen Ross this afternoon, so be it.

Landry opened with 84 catches as a rookie and followed with back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons. He shares the NFL mark for most receptions in the first three years of a career (288) with longtime friend Odell Beckham Jr., who’s already approaching $9 million in career earnings. That catch record seems more prevalent in his mind than getting a raise, at the moment.

“It means everything,” Landry said. “It’s something we’ve both talked about. The race for Year 4 is on. That’s on now. It’ll be fun.”

There’s also a sense that he understands the fragility of Miami’s success and how much of it depends on him.

This is a guy who boils so much after losses that he occasionally can’t compose himself enough to take questions. He steamed through 14-18 his first two seasons before last year helping lead Miami to its first playoff berth since 2008. He wants to get back there again, and he’s confident enough about the Dolphins’ potential to openly challenge the Patriots no matter how crazy people think he sounds.

Landry means what he says. It’s time to believe him when it comes to the contract situation.

[Here’s why Dolphins fans will miss Koa Misi]

[Dolphins’ biggest rivalry on the field is between Adam Gase, Matt Burke]

[William Hayes immediately becomes the most interesting man in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s