Miami Dolphins

Miffed Reshad Jones among four defensive starters missing at Dolphins camp

Adam Gase was going to deal with controversy and adversity at some point in his first season.

Might as well come during his first practice.

The Gase Era in Miami began in earnest Tuesday, with the start of voluntary veterans minicamp.

Reshad Jones, Ndamukong Suh, Mario Williams and Koa Misi volunteered to miss it.

Williams and Misi had valid excuses; the former is dealing with an unforeseen personal issue, the latter is ill.

But Jones and Suh? These were personal choices.

Jones wants a new contract. And he is skipping the offseason workouts until he gets one, the Miami Herald has learned.

“I'm not going to get upset about anything on the first day of voluntary veteran minicamp,” Gase said, when asked about Jones. “We'll see how everything goes once we get to June.”

June is when teams can start fining players for their truancy. But until then, Jones — who is in Year 3 of a four-year, $28 million contract that makes him the league’s highest-paid strong safety — can come and (more likely) go as he pleases.

Jones has long said he’s the best safety in football. Now he wants to be paid like it. Jones is looking for a contract like the ones given to Eric Berry and Earl Thomas, which pay between $10 million and $11 million annually.

“I can't speak on that,” teammate Michael Thomas said, when asked if Jones deserves a raise. “Obviously he feels a certain type of way. Everybody wants to prove their worth. That's what I'm trying to do, too.”

Thomas got that chance Tuesday, working with the starters in Jones’ spot, alongside newcomer Isa Abdul-Quddus.

Suh, meanwhile, has made a habit of skipping voluntary workouts because he prefers to work out at the Nike compound in Oregon.

He showed up for the first day of the Dolphins’ conditioning program a few weeks back, but quickly went back to his old routine.

Teammates are privately steamed about the league’s highest-paid defensive player again doing what he wants — a recurring problem during much of the 2015 season.

There is no questioning Cameron Wake’s dedication, however.

Just six months after tearing his Achilles tendon, Wake practiced Tuesday, albeit on a limited basis. He did not participate in team or 7-on-7 drills.

“That's awesome,” said defensive end Andre Branch, another newcomer who got work with the starters. “He's definitely a vet in this league. He's been playing at a high level for a long period of time. He leads by example. He's the type of player you follow.”

Gase said Wake’s availability will be determined on a “day-to-day” basis, with the goal to have him 100 percent, or close to it, when training camp arrives in three months.

As for Misi, he should back with the team soon. In the meantime, it gave new coordinator Vance Joseph a chance to evaluate backups such as Spencer Paysinger and Neville Hewitt.

In all, the Dolphins were without five starters on defense. The offense took advantage, most notably when Ryan Tannehill connected on a deep pass to DeVante Parker over Tony Lippett, who will get a chance to win a starting job at corner.

“It's crazy, because you have a whole bunch of young guys out here trying to prove their worth,” Thomas said. “Maybe they're getting a chance to show why they need to be a guy out there.”

Miami Herald sportswriters Barry Jackson and Armando Salguero contributed to this report.

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

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