Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is reporting that the Miami Dolphins have yet to enter discussions with strong safety, Reshad Jones, on a new contract.
Jones, who will be a free agent after the 2014 season concludes, had a break-out season for the Dolphins last year. The former Georgia Bulldog tallied 94 tackles (73 solo), one sack, nine passes defensed, four interceptions and forced two fumbles. Jones’ success went unnoticed as he was one of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs this past season after grading out as Pro Football Focus’ third overall safety (only Jairus Byrd and Eric Weddle were graded higher).
Jones timed his break-out season perfectly as Miami was searching for a leader in the secondary after cutting ties with fan favorite defensive back, Yeremiah Bell, after the 2012 season.
Sure, Jones was quite a play-maker in the secondary last year. If his statistics do not show it, take a look here at some highlights from his 2012-2013 season. But does his one successful season warrant a contract extension?
Over the course of his first two professional seasons, Jones averaged 44 total tackles (34 solo), one and a half sacks, three passes defensed and one interception. Do those numbers warrant a long-term contract? Not precisely.
Jeff Ireland, Miami’s General Manager, needs to figure out the best long-term decision for the team. The Bill Parcells protege has three options:
Option A, Ireland can bite the bullet and work-out a long term deal with Jones. Although, choosing to hand-out a long-term deal with a player who has had one great season seems unlikely.
Option B, Ireland can choose to allow Jones to hit the open market hoping he finds little to no suitors for his services opening the door for a Miami reunion.
Option C and perhaps the most likely option, Ireland can wait it out and slap Jones with the franchise tag once the 2014 season concludes. This will allow Ireland to scout Jones’ progress for one more season before handing out a long-term deal and it will allow Ireland to focus on locking up other free agents such as Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, Brent Grimes, Dustin Keller, Koa Misi, etc.
Ireland has done an excellent job this offseason of bringing in talent to load his roster for a potential play-off run. Most of his signings this offseason, however, are currently playing under one-year deals, meaning Miami may be losing those key players once the final snap this season comes to an end. Ireland would be smart to lock up some of next year’s potential free agents including the ball-hawking safety, Reshad Jones.