Miami Dolphins

Jay Ajayi won a Super Bowl. Now will he get what he really wants?

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi celebrates after winning Super Bowl 52.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi celebrates after winning Super Bowl 52. AP

Jay Ajayi is a world champion.

It might be a tough pill for Dolphins fans — particularly Jay Ajayi fans — to swallow.

But cough it down. Best to get through it in one swig.

Ajayi, traded by Miami to Philadelphia for a fourth-round pick midseason, rushed for 57 yards on 9 carries to help the Eagles stun the Patriots in Super Bowl 52.

It was a great moment for Ajayi, of course, but also a great moment for American football in England. The UK-born ball-carrier is an inspiration to pigskin players and fans across the pond.

“It’s rare to be in positions like this, coming from London, getting to the States and being a Super Bowl champion,” Ajayi said post-game, via Yahoo! Sports. “It’s rare. … I’m thankful for my upbringing, I’m thankful [for] everything that’s happened in my life that’s brought me to this point.”

Ajayi added: “I’m so blessed and I pray that someone [in the UK] is inspired by it. … Just from the journey and the challenges that I’ve been through, the adversity, everything, and to still be at this point, to still be able to touch and kiss that Lombardi Trophy, and to understand that I’m a Super Bowl champion.

“[It’s the] greatest feeling in the world.”

Well, maybe not for fans of the Fins.

Ajayi’s success only adds to the narrative that the Dolphins too often purge talented players over personal reasons.

Certainly, he and Adam Gase were not exactly in sync in Miami. In the days leading up to the trade, Gase went public with some of his issues with Ajayi in a series of escalating news conferences.

But to say a clash of personalities was the only reason the Dolphins dealt Ajayi would be wrong.

Eagles quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles talks about playing against Tom Brady and the Patriots in the biggest game of them all. The Eagles upset the Patriots, 41-33.

It was one of several factors.

Perhaps the biggest: Ajayi wants to get paid this offseason.

Ajayi, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, was not shy about telling the Dolphins he wanted a contract extension.

But the Dolphins, with those behavioral concerns, Ajayi’s worrisome knees and their depth behind him, were not going to pay him what he wanted.

Will the Eagles?

It’s hard to see why they would.

They just won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback. And while Ajayi was productive in Philadelphia, he wasn’t even the Eagles’ second-best back Sunday night.

LaGarrette Blount led the team in carries (14), yards (90) and rushing touchdowns (1).

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised Eagles coach Doug Pederson for his coaching performance as the Eagles beat the Patriots, 41-33.

Corey Clement had 108 all-purpose yards and a score on seven touches.

Plus, Eagles decision-makers might (rightly) believe that almost any running back would do well behind that excellent Philadelphia offensive line.

Then there is the financial part of this conversation.

Philadelphia is projected to be $9 million over the salary cap in 2018. The Eagles have a ton of good players about to become free agents.

Ajayi is scheduled to make just $705,000 in 2018.

So why would the Eagles give him a pay raise when they have almost no incentive to do so?

Will a Super Bowl ring be enough to placate Ajayi for another year?

Or will egos and dollars again derail the Jay Train?

UPDATE: Ajayi took to Instagram Monday morning to apparently settle some scores with Gase and South Florida media.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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