The Miami Dolphins were crushed by injuries in 2022 at multiple positions. Tua Tagovailoa suffered multiple concussions, and the Fins came under fire for how they handled the treatment of their rising franchise quarterback.
Even before Tua's resurgence under new coach Mike McDaniel, though, Miami was waiting on star cornerback Byron Jones to recover from what seemed like a cleanup surgery on his Achilles and ankle this past March. To be clear, his Achilles wasn't torn. Jones was expected to be back within a couple of months and full-go for training camp.
Instead, the timeline for Jones' return to action kept getting pushed further and further back to the point where he didn't play at all in 2022. Begging the question: What the fuck happened?
I'm not here to throw the Dolphins medical staff under the bus or anything like that, even though I'm sure folks will link together Jones' mishandled situation and how Tua was treated. For whatever it's worth, ESPN reported Jones isn't retiring — contrary to what his tweet says. I don't know what to think, because Jones didn't exactly mince words. It was a pretty direct confirmation that he's finished playing.
Unless he comes out and tells his full story, what happened to Jones will remain shrouded in mystery. All I know is, this blows. Jones and Xavien Howard were supposed to form one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL. They were part of a defense that helped Miami stay competitive and post winning records in 2020 and '21. Right went the Fins' offense finally started clicking, Jones went down and was out for their run to the playoffs this past season.
As Jones alludes to in his post on Twitter, he set the broad jump record at the NFL Scouting Combine back in 2015 and lit it up in Indy that day in general. UConn isn't exactly a football powerhouse, so Jones' athleticism blew everyone away who wasn't already familiar with his game. That led to the Dallas Cowboys selecting Jones 27th overall. Once he hit the NFL, Jones was sort of a middling safety who then transitioned to cornerback and really found his stride. That all led to his unprecedented cornerback contract with the Dolphins.
If this is, in fact, the end for Byron Jones, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Miami suddenly becomes the frontrunner to land Rams All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey in a trade. They'd need to sacrifice premium draft capital in 2024 to acquire him in all likelihood, but I'm sure new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would be a heavy advocate for Ramsey if the opportunity presented itself.
Last year's undrafted rookie phenom Kader Kohou is more comfortable and has more reps in the slot. He could split snaps with Ramsey there, and obviously Howard is still entrenched as one of the starting outside corners.
I hope above all else that Jones can salvage some good health for the rest of his life whether he keeps playing or not. It's hard to grasp how someone as athletic as he is can no longer run or jump. Hopefully, it's a frustrating moment for him in his ongoing recovery and he'll be able to be back on the gridiron. It just sounds pretty bleak based on what Jones has said about his physical capabilities.