Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list on Friday ahead of the team’s Tuesday report date for training camp.
The Dolphins announced Jones’ PUP designation along with placement of defensive back Elijah Campbell on the active/non-football injury list.
Jones underwent a lower left leg surgery in March and was unable to participate in the Dolphins’ voluntary organized team activities or mandatory minicamp practices this offseason.
With Miami holding its first practice on Wednesday, the active/PUP designation means Jones will not participate in practice to start camp. Once able to return, he can be activated off the PUP list. If he’s still not ready by the start of the regular season, the Dolphins can move him to the reserve/PUP list, but that requires a player to miss the first six weeks of the regular season.
Jones was the Dolphins’ highest-paid player each of the past two seasons after signing a five-year deal worth $82.5 million in 2020 free agency. This offseason, the team restructured his contract, converting base salary into a signing bonus, which created salary cap space in an offseason where the Dolphins made an array of roster additions, including wide receiver Tyreek Hill and left tackle Terron Armstead.
Jones, who turns 30 in September, is expected to be a key component to the Dolphins defense, starting opposite of three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard and with Nik Needham manning the nickel cornerback role. Howard had his contract restructured this offseason, making his deal more lucrative than Jones’ in the coming seasons.
Known for his man coverage, Jones only has four interceptions through his first seven NFL seasons — the first five with the Dallas Cowboys and last two with the Dolphins. Two of those came in 2020 with Miami. He had 58 tackles and 10 pass deflections last season and 37 tackles with four deflections in 2020.
Jones started in all but one game during the season, the Oct. 17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, which he missed with Achilles and groin injuries.
In the weeks that followed, he had the same two injuries listed on the report as he returned to play. He also once had a quadriceps injury listed that he played through against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 10. For much of November through the end of the season, Jones was largely off the injury report, aside from missing two practices for veteran rest.
Coverage from Howard, Jones and Needham is vital for Miami’s defense, allowing it to be blitz-heavy with linebackers and even safeties. With Jones and Campbell sidelined to start camp, Dolphins 2020 first-round draft pick Noah Igbinoghene will have an opportunity to step up. Miami also has free-agent signing and special teamer Keion Crossen, second-year cornerback Trill Williams, Javaris Davis, former local standout Quincy Wilson and undrafted rookies Kader Kohou and Elijah Hamilton at the position.
Campbell played in seven games with the Dolphins in 2021 and recorded two special teams tackles after he was awarded to Miami off waivers from the New York Jets ahead of Week 1.
His placement on the non-football injury list is essentially the same as Jones’ PUP designation as he can be activated once ready to practice. It merely specifies his undisclosed injury did not occur in a football practice or game.
Neither move involves an extra roster spot as the team can carry 90 players to start camp. A roster spot can only be saved if a team is prepared to rule a player out for season, which is not the case for either player.