Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator talks about competition for jobs
The Dolphins took a stick of dynamite to their logjam at safety Sunday night, cutting veteran T.J. McDonald — who was set to be one of the highest-paid players on the team.
The subtext of the roster move: more snaps for Reshad Jones, who now will presumably be the team’s primary strong safety. Before cutting McDonald, it was assumed he and Jones would share playing time.
The move is puzzling in one way: it doesn’t really provide much of any 2019 financial relief. McDonald will still collect nearly $4 million in base salary from the Dolphins; that sum became guaranteed more than a year ago.
While the move will bring negligible short-term cap savings for the Dolphins — just $1.5 million this year — he will carry just $1.9 million in dead money over to 2020, according to Spotrac.
The news comes on the same day Jones, the Dolphins’ highest-paid player and two-time Pro Bowler, told the Miami Herald that the Dolphins have given him assurances he will not be traded.
McDonald, 28, started the Dolphins’ preseason opener but missed the two games that followed with an unspecified injury.
Jones, meanwhile, practiced Sunday after dealing with a minor health issue.
McDonald first signed with the Dolphins one on one-year deal in March 2017, and then got a four-year, $24 million extension that training camp despite a looming eight-game suspension.
He and Jones were never a great fit playing together at safety, as their skill sets overlapped.
It makes sense the Dolphins picked one over the other two weeks before the start of the season. It’s just a bit surprising they cut the cheaper player.
In two years with the Dolphins, McDonald — voted by the media as the 2018 Good Guy Award winner — had 131 tackles and four interceptions.
McDonald might be just the first of several big-name veterans cut by the team before the deadline to pare the roster down to 53 players on Saturday.
They already have more than $40 million in dead money this year, according to Over The Cap, and that figure will likely continue to rise throughout the fall.