In a rare series of events, the Miami Dolphins have now signed S T.J. McDonald twice in the same offseason.
On Saturday, the Miami Dolphins surprised many with the announcement that they had extended the contract of T.J. McDonald. The extended contract is for four years, $24 million, with $10 million guaranteed. The ironic part of the signing is that McDonald has yet to play an official down with the Dolphins, but it is the second contract he has signed with the team this offseason.
Initially, McDonald met with Miami back in late March. It was that day in which McDonald found out that he would be sentenced to an eight-game suspension by the NFL for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The discipline was handed down from a May 2016 arrest, which can best be described as a reduced form of a DUI. A day or two after the suspension was announced is when the Dolphins agreed to bring McDonald in on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum.
As is usually the case with one-year contracts, McDonald’s deal was essentially, a “prove-it” deal. Evidently, Miami felt that McDonald has proven enough already in training camp and the preseason to warrant the extended contract. Not bad for a player who won’t be available for them until November.
With the extended contract, Miami now has their safeties wrapped up for the long haul. In March, the team extended the contract of Reshad Jones to a five-year deal. If McDonald can stay out of trouble, and both players can remain healthy, this should be a very solid pairing for a number of years. When healthy, Jones has been Miami’s most dynamic secondary player, but he’s had problems staying on the field.
McDonald, on the other hand, has to keep his nose clean. In case you are wondering, there are reports that the guaranteed money coming McDonald’s way has stipulations applied to it. That he will only receive the money provided he stays out of trouble, and does not get himself suspended again. The Dolphins made it very clear with his initial signing back in March that there would be a zero tolerance policy, and that holds true even with his new deal.
There’s no doubting how much of an impact player that McDonald is, and it’s easy to see from training camp and the preseason why the Dolphins like him so much. The situation is an interesting one, however, as it’s not often that you see a player signed twice by the same team after a declared suspension.
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It was considered a surprise back in March when Miami signed McDonald shortly after learning of his lengthy suspension. To provide a new contract before that suspension even officially begins is even more surprising. Yes, I understand that McDonald’s new deal is not actually a new signing, but rather an extension based off of his original deal. On the surface though it looks like McDonald got two contracts from his new team, despite not being available for half the season.
It speaks volumes for how the Dolphins feel about McDonald. McDonald’s off-field issue occurred well over a year ago now, and he hasn’t been involved in any trouble since then. Miami believes that McDonald has learned from this experience, but they’ve also covered themselves in the extended contract in case they are wrong. If they are right though, this deal could look like a steal down the road.
I’m trusting the Dolphins organization knows what they have in McDonald, and what kind of person he really is so I stand behind them with this new extension. The whole situation is just kind of funny to me because it really does look like he was signed twice this offseason, but yet, we won’t see him again for another two months. Time will tell how this signing impacts the future of other Dolphins players, most notably Jarvis Landry. For now, Miami looks to continue getting stronger in their secondary, an area they have been very vulnerable at for the past few seasons.