The Miami Dolphins were handed a significant injury blow on Tuesday when the organization announced that star cornerback Byron Jones would be placed on the reserve/PUP list to start the 2022 NFL season, per Ari Meirov. The decision from the Dolphins, which came amid the team’s final 53-man roster cuts, will force Jones to miss the first four games of the regular season, and possibly more, while he recovers from offseason ankle surgery.

Jones underwent surgery on his left ankle during the offseason. The initial expectation was that the 29-year-old would be ready to go for training camp, but that plan did not come to fruition. The ankle rehab has been a slower process than expected, forcing Jones to start the season on PUP.

Jones will first be eligible to return to action in Week 5 for the Dolphins’ matchup against the New York Jets on October 9. With the one-time Pro Bowler sidelined for the first four weeks, it is expected that Nik Needham will start the season opposite Xavien Howard in the secondary. Keion Crossen could also see some extended run in Jones’ absence.

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The Dolphins will be without the veteran cornerback for matchups with the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals. The first four weeks are among the most grueling on Miami’s 2022 NFL schedule, so to be without Jones during that stretch is a big loss.

Last season for the Dolphins, Byron Jones started 16 games. He didn’t record an interception, but had 10 pass defenses and 58 tackles, playing an important role in Miami’s secondary.

Jones is one of the Dolphins’ highest earners. He signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the team in 2020, which runs through the 2024 season and includes a potential out after the 2022 campaign. He’s only due $1.12 million in base salary this season while carrying a cap hit of $5.871 million.