The Dolphins signed Byron Jones to an $82.5 million deal in free agency to pair with Xavien Howard. But Howard remains on the physically unable to perform list after knee surgery eight months ago.
Jones is prepared to travel with the opponent’s best receiver if that’s what the Dolphins need with Howard’s return date still unclear.
“I feel great,” Jones said Thursday, via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “This is a big reason why I was brought here. It was to build on the already good secondary. We have really good young players. We have good players who have been here in the past, so it’s really just, I’m just another piece to the puzzle in terms of a really good and just really excellent Dolphins secondary.”
The Dolphins have Noah Igbinoghene and second-year player Nik Needham to compete for the other starting job if Howard isn’t ready for the season opener. The team has signed cornerbacks Deatrick Nichols and Breon Borders this week after signing cornerback Picasso Nelson, Jr. earlier this month.
“Hopefully we’ll have ‘X’ back,” Jones said. “As soon as he gets back, we want to make sure he’s fully healthy first. We’re not going to rush him at all, but we’re good. We’re a good team up and down the roster, I’d say.”
Jones didn’t make the NFL’s list of top-100 players from its annual poll of NFL players. True to his nature, Jones doesn’t care.
“I pay very little attention to outside noise because we’re all different,” Jones said. “We all play in different schemes. We all play different systems. Some guys follow the best; some guys don’t. It’s really hard to compare. It’s a fun game for fans – no question – but for me, I focus on myself.”