Last year, the Miami Dolphins had every one of their rookies signed before training camp started….except for one. Ryan Tannehill was the Dolphins lone holdout last summer, albeit for all of 2 days. However, Tannehill’s 2 day delay of arriving at camp set him back by about a week. According to NFL rules, if a rookie is unsigned by the start of the team’s training camp, the player must attend 3 non-contact practices before practicing with pads AFTER signing his deal. That was the reason that Tannehill did only limited work for HIS first 3 days of camp last summer.
Photo Courtesy of Dolphins.com
This year, the Dolphins have all of their draft picks signed, except for 1st round pick, Dion Jordan. It is very important that the Dolphins and Jordan come to a contract agreement before Saturday arrives. Why? Well, Jordan missed all but one of the Dolphins OTA’s and mini-camps because he was finishing school at Oregon. Therefore, he’s already behind where his fellow rookies are in terms of the playbook and understanding the defensive scheme.
Surprisingly, Jordan is not the only 1st round draft pick unsigned. In fact, only 13 of the 32 first round picks have been signed by their teams. Keep in mind, however, that the Dolphins and Cowboys open up camp a week before everyone else, because they will play in the Hall of Fame game. This means the Dolphins will have 1 extra preseason game this year. While I think it’s good that the team will have an extra warm-up game, it also scares the life out of me because the preseason is usually when regrettable injuries occur. Let’s hope the Dolphins can stay healthy this preseason.
Ultimately, I expect the Dolphins and Jordan to come to an agreement before Friday. The Dolphins know they made a bold move up to get Jordan and want to see him on the field. The disagreement seems to be coming from the ‘offset language’. That’s really just a fancy way of saying that the Dolphins don’t want to guarantee his entire rookie deal, just in case he’s a bust. This was the same sticking point that the Dolphins ran into with the Ryan Tannehill negotiation. Tannehill eventually allowed for some offset language to be written into the contract, so there were concessions on both sides.
The Dolphins plan on using Jordan in a limited role, initially as a 3rd down pass rusher. However, once they get him on the field and into game situations, they may have to adjust those plans if he proves himself. They don’t want to overload him at first, but the Dolphins eventually see him as an every down defensive end, who can also drop into coverage and play some strong side OLB. Remember, in college, Jordan was sometimes used to cover opposing wide receivers…..you read that right.
Jordan’s versatility and raw athleticism will add a new dynamic to the Dolphins defense. In fact, he’ll bring a dynamic that hasn’t been seen since the early 2000′s when Mr. Jason Taylor wore down offenses. I know, I know the Dolphins have Cameron Wake. He’s a stud and can get to the QB with the best of them. But Jordan is physically imposing, taller, and faster than Wake. It’s hard not to dream about the two of them flying around the corner with Tom Brady in their sights!
I’m excited to see this kid in action and can’t wait until the real games start. Let’s just hope that the Dolphins and Jordan can come to an agreement before Friday, so that his learning curve isn’t slowed. He’s got a lot to learn about the NFL and right now he’s learning just how much of a business it really is.
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