In a major hit to the Miami Dolphins defense ahead of the 2022 NFL regular season, star cornerback Byron Jones has reportedly been moved to the reserve/PUP list.
That means that Jones will have to miss at least the first four games of the season.
The #Dolphins moved CB Byron Jones to the reserve/PUP list, meaning he'll miss at least the first four games.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 30, 2022
So Byron Jones – whose ankle/Achilles surgery was supposed to have him back by July – now out first 4 games. McDaniel is surprised; he has said he was optimistic about start of season. So Xavien, Needham, Noah, Crossen and Kohou are your CBs.
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) August 30, 2022
Jones has been a member of the Dolphins for the last two seasons and remained healthy for much of that time. He played in 14 games in the 2020 season and 16 games in the 2021 campaign. He started in all 30 of those contests.
Unfortunately, missing the first four games of an important 2022 season is surely not what Jones or his coaches had in mind.
When it comes to the cornerback position, the Dolphins are already spread incredibly thin. A position that has been considered a major strength over the last two seasons has now become a point of weakness.
Injuries have already decimated the depth at the position. Trill Williams tore his ACL during the team’s first preseason game. To replace Williams, the Dolphins signed Mackensie Alexander, who later ended up on injured reserve.
Now, the likes of Nik Needham, Keion Crossen and Noah Igbinoghene will have to do whatever they can to try to keep opposing receivers at bay in the coming weeks.
It is possible that the Dolphins could look to sign a veteran corner who currently has no team. The best corners currently available include Chris Harris Jr., Xavier Rhodes, Kevin King and Janoris Jenkins.
Still, none of those players will be able to replicate the lockdown defense that Jones has often offered the Dolphins throughout his time with the team.
To make matters worse, the Dolphins face four solid AFC teams in the first four weeks of the season. Two of those teams are division rivals.
They’ll take on the New England Patriots in Week 1, face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, battle against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 and round out the first month of the season with a game against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4.
The first game Jones could feasibly come back for is a Week 5 battle against the New York Jets.