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Jones extension part of busy opening of free agency for Dolphins

ter letting plenty free agents leave last offseason, the Miami Dolphins made “taking care of our own,” this offseason’s top priority.

Those were the words that consistently came out of Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannebaum’s mouth when discussing Miami’s offseason plans, and the franchise backed them up with action.

A day after signing starting defensive end Andre Branch and receiver Kenny Stills to multi-year deals, the Dolphins gave Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones a new five-year, $60 million contract that guarantees him $35 million and runs through the 2021 season.

Jones had been slated to make just under $7.1 million this season in what was supposed to be the final year of a $32 million contract he signed four years ago. Jones’ goal was to be paid like a top-five safety, and that appears to be reflected by his new deal.

“They kept their word,” said Jones, who only appeared in six games last season because he tore his rotator cuff against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 16. Last year, Jones contributed 51 tackles, half a sack and one interception.

“I put so much into this game,” said Jones, who has recorded 555 tackles, 16 interceptions and nine sacks in his seven seasons with the Dolphins. “My hard work and dedication have paid off for me. I’m thankful; I’m grateful.”

Dolphins sign safety Reshad Jones to 5-year deal

Dolphins sign safety Reshad Jones to 5-year deal

The same can probably be said for defensive lineman Nick Williams and long snapper John Denney, who also re-signed with the Dolphins on Thursday. Denney, a 12-year veteran, has spent his entire career with Miami.

Williams, a three-year veteran the Dolphins claimed off the waiver wire last season, contributed three tackles in the five games he played for Miami last season.

The Dolphins placed a first-round tender on restricted free-agent linebacker Kiko Alonso, keeping the veteran from becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Dolphins will pay Alonso $3.9 million for the 2017 season if he signs the tender.

By placing a first-round tender on Alonso, the Dolphins have the right of first refusal if they receive an offer from another team. If the Dolphins do not match, and Alonso signs an offer elsewhere, that team would owe the Dolphins a first-round pick for him.

The Dolphins gave tailback Damien Williams and safety Michael Thomas original-round tenders, which will pay each of them just under $1.8 million in 2017. Because Damien Williams and Thomas were both undrafted, their original-round tender means the Dolphins have the right to match any offer made, but wouldn’t get compensation if they leave.

According to sources, the Dolphins have discussed doing multi-year extensions with Alonso, Thomas and Damien Williams. E were significant contributors to Miami’s 2016 playoff team.

It is possible that Thomas could end up being paired with Jones as Miami’s starting free safety again because a source says the Dolphins plan to release veteran safety Isa Abdul-Quddus in the coming days.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase said at last week’s NFL scouting combine that Abdul-Quddus’ shoulder/neck injury hadn’t totally healed and was progressing slowly. General manager Chris Grier called it a “significant” injury.

Abdul-Quddus, injured against Buffalo in the second-to-last game of the season, had 78 tackles, one sack and two interceptions last season with Miami. His release would clear $3.4 million from Miami’s salary cap.

Tight end Dion Sims is reportedly set to join the Chicago Bears. Miami signed former Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano to a one-year, $3 million deal to serve as Sims’ replacement as the in-line blocker who will be paired with Julius Thomas, whose trade to Miami became official Thursday. The Dolphins did not offer tight end Dominique Jones a tender as a restricted free agent.

The Dolphins will send Jacksonville a 2017 seventh-round pick for Thomas, who has agreed to restructure his contract, and will get a 2018 late-round pick from Jacksonville for former Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert.

Laremy Tunsil will replace Albert as Miami’s starting left tackle, and the Dolphins will use free agency or the draft to add guards who would compete for starting jobs.

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