After being open to the idea of trading safety Reshad Jones, the Dolphins have apparently determined that’s not going to happen.
Jones told The Miami Herald on Sunday that he has received very recent assurance from Dolphins management that he will not be traded.
“They said I won’t be traded this year,” he said.
[UPDATE: On Sunday evening, the Dolphins released safety T.J. McDonald, giving more clarity to why Miami decided to keep Jones.]
Releasing Jones, 31, would be pointless, because he’s still a quality player and Miami would have a $17.1 million dead money hit in that scenario and just $100,000 in cap savings. Additionally, $11 million of his $13.1 million base salary this season is guaranteed.
If the Dolphins traded him, Miami would have just $4 million in dead money and $13 million in cap savings.
But his contract - which includes a $17.2 million cap hit this season - likely would limit what Miami could realistically get back in a trade, even though he was a Pro Bowler in 2015 and 2017 and even though he’s still a playmaking safety, with three interceptions last season.
Jones is under contract through 2021. He has an $11.5 million base salary and a $15.6 million cap number in 2020, but if the Dolphins cut him next spring, they would carry only $4 million in dead money on his deal and have $11.6 million in cap savings.
Jones - who practiced on his own during most of the offseason program as he worked his way back from shoulder surgery - has comported himself well since returning, conveying a team-first attitude and repeatedly saying he will accept any role, even reduced playing time. That has impressed the Dolphins.
With McDonald’s release, Jones and Bobby McCain are positioned to be the Dolphins’ starting safety combination, unless Miami decides to use Minkah Fitzpatrick at the position.
“Whatever my role is I am willing to take on and be the best I can,” Jones said. “I can play free safety, I can play strong safety. New coaching, new staff, new system, that’s part of it.
“I still have Pro Bowl caliber in me, a lot of good football in me that I can play. I’m just trying to be the best player I can be. I’m focusing on doing everything I can to help this team.”
McCain (shoulder) missed practice Sunday with injuries. Jones practiced but is still working his way back from a foot injury that has sidelined him for preseason games. He said he will be ready for the start of the regular season.
An official in touch with the Dolphins front office has said they’re willing to consider trade offers on multiple players, and Jones was considered available for much of the offseason. But nothing to Miami’s liking materialized, and the Dolphins decided to give one of their more accomplished players peace of mind that he’s safe.
Kiko Alonso, another player who has been linked to trade speculation, declined to comment Sunday. Here’s how Brian Flores addressed Alonso’s status and other issues in my piece earlier Sunday.