Jerome Baker's knee injury raises questions about his future with the Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins v Washington Commanders
Miami Dolphins v Washington Commanders / Rob Carr/GettyImages

Watching Jerome Baker go down with a knee injury was tough to watch but will this be the swan song to his Miami Dolphins career?

Jerome Baker has given everything to the Miami Dolphins. He hasn't always been consistent and his salary surely hasn't equaled his play...until this year. Let's face it, under Vic Fangio, Baker has thrived.

2023 has given Dolphins fans the Jerome Baker we saw ahead of his contract extension...with the consistency that he hasn't had the last few years. His loss to the team this year is tough to swallow. Last week, he was placed on IR and while he can return by the end of the season, just in time for the playoffs, there is no guarantee that will happen.

The question is whether or not last weekend's game in Washington will be his final game with the Dolphins.

Miami isn't in a great salary cap situation heading into 2023. Yes, we should enjoy what we have on the field now, the season that is unfolding for us this year but losing Baker is a stark reminder of how fragile the NFL actually is.

The Dolphins have a big problem heading into the off-season with several key players hitting free agency. Players like Christian Wilkins and Andrew Van Ginkel on defense and Robert Hunt on offense. Players like Baker and Emmanuel Ogbah could be expendable.

Baker will cost the Miami Dolphins $14.8 million in salary cap next year. If the Dolphins need his cap space, they might release him. Doing so would save the Dolphins $9.9 million in cap space with a $4.9 million dead money hit. Designating him a Post-June 1st release would only save the Dolphins an additional $2.1 million and only reduce the hit by less than $2 million.

Restructuring the contract, according to could save $6 million in cap with no dead money since he would still be under contract. Ideally, this would be a good way to go.

Baker has played well under Fangio and if the Dolphins can keep some continuity on defense, it would be smart. That being said, Miami also needs to upgrade the linebacker unit, and that too could lead to a move by Baker.

Ideally, the Dolphins retain Baker and then draft his replacement. Baker is under contract for two more years beyond this season. In 2025 his contract drops to just $1.2 million in cap space.