Byron Jones had $82.5 million reasons to choose the Miami Dolphins in free agency, which was one of the most surprising moves of the NFL offseason. Despite the Philadelphia Eagles and Las Vegas Raiders engaging in a bidding war for his services, the Dolphins swooped in and were able to lure Jones to Miami.
Why would Jones join a team that has one playoff appearance since 2008 and just one winning season in that span? Miami is the trendy team to join, especially with the culture head coach Brian Flores is establishing.
"He's got young energy. I hear he's intense and he likes to create competitive scenarios, competitive situations," Jones said in a conference call with reporters. "That's just something that I like and I wanted to be a part of. I've heard a lot of good things about him throughout the league. I spoke to a couple of coaches and players throughout the whole process and they had nothing but good things to say about him. That's exciting for me, just to be on a team that he's leading."
The Dolphins were projected to be the worst team in the NFL last season, but ended up 5-11 and winning three of their last five games. Miami started the season winless in its first seven games before ending up 5-4 in its last nine, despite having the 25th-ranked scoring offense and finishing dead last in scoring defense.
The Dolphins revamped their roster this offseason with Jones as the highlight signing. Miami also reached deals with linebacker Kyle Van Noy, defensive end Shaq Lawson, guard Ereck Flowers, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, running back Jordan Howard, safety Clayton Fejedelem, and center Ted Karras.
There's a reason to be excited to be in Miami as the Dolphins appear ready to take a big step the AFC East.
"Yeah, we've got some ballers. No question about that. You combine the new talent with the talent that was already on the team and you combine it with the new talent we're going to get in the draft, and we're going to have some ballers," Jones said. "Now the challenge is putting it together and being consistent and winning games in this league, which is very hard to do; but no, it's exciting to see a lot of good players come from different teams.
"I am fired up to play for Miami. This is a young team that's going in the right direction, and the thing that I can bring to this team is leadership and also good man coverage. That's one thing I'm excited (about), is to play with this defensive style. We're going to match up, we're going to have some fun, put people in different spots so they can be successful and that's what I'm looking most forward to."