When the Miami Dolphins signed Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones to a massive contract last year, they couldn’t have imagined it would all turn out like this.
The Fins acquired the former Dallas Cowboys CB to join fellow star corner Xavien Howard in creating one of the scariest secondaries in the league.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out that way. Instead, the Miami front office is now dealing with a messy contract situation that involves both players.
Byron Jones is the fifth highest paid cornerback in the NFL
Last year, Miami signed Byron Jones to a 5 year, $82.5 million contract, including a $10.5 million signing bonus and $54,375,000 in guaranteed money.
The deal gives Jones an average salary of $16.5 million per season, which makes him the fifth highest paid corner in the league. The Los Angeles Rams’ Jalen Ramsey currently makes the most at $21 million per season.
This season, Jones will earn a base salary of $14 million and over $2 million in a signing bonus.
Xavien Howard is not happy
In 2020, Xavien Howard was arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. The 28-year-old led the league in interceptions for the second time in his career with 10.
His cornerback teammate Byron Jones has only had four interceptions in his entire six seasons in the NFL.
That fact has not been lost on Howard, who skipped all of Miami’s OTAs until he reluctantly reported to training camp this week to avoid the massive fines he would face if he continued to hold out.
Howard wants a new contract that matches his exceptional play, the issue is he only signed a five-year, $75.25 million extension with the franchise in 2019.
He released a lengthy statement yesterday via his social media accounts explaining why he is unhappy with the Miami Dolphins franchise.
In his statement, Howard explicitly called out the difference in money between himself and Jones.
“I’m one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and the tape backs that claim. The assignments i’m give, shadowing the opposition’s best players with a little help, proves my value, my worth. Yet, i’m the second highest aid cornerback on my own team, and it’s not even close.
The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback wants a trade because it’s unlikely the Dolphins will give him the big raise he is demanding.
Should the Dolphins regret signing Byron Jones?
The short answer is yes, but not because Xavien Howard is demanding a trade.
Miami will have regrets about signing Byron because his level of play has nowhere near matched his paycheck.
In his first season with the Dolphins, Jones recorded 37 tackles, defended four passes, had two interceptions, one forced fumble and zero sacks.
Now these are not terrible stats, but they’re not the production the team would expect from the fifth highest CB in the NFL. Especially when his fellow cornerback Xavien Howard easily outplayed him in every category.
If Jones played to a Pro Bowl level then Howard would have far less to grumble about and the team would find itself in a better situation.