Arthur Jones’ inability to stay on the field has led to a contract restructuring that places more of an emphasis on the Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle playing and performing in 2016.
The seventh-year pro agreed to reduce his base salary from $4.5 million to $2.5 million, but can get that $2 million back through incentives and roster bonuses, ESPN’s Field Yates reported Thursday.
Jones, 29, is entering the third year of a five-year, $33-million contract ($10 million guaranteed) which has translated to nine games played, three starts, 23 tackles and 1.5 sacks, all in 2014. He missed the 2015 season after suffering an ankle injury in preseason that required surgery.
He was also injured in 2014 with a high ankle sprain that caused him to be sidelined at two different junctures. Jones said later he wasn’t the same player when on the field. That made his 2015 season-ending injury, in the third preseason game, all the more frustrating because he was healthy and anxious to prove himself worthy of the lucrative contract.
The Colts were convinced they added a key piece to their defense when they signed Jones, who had worked his way into a full-time starting role in his fourth season at Baltimore.
Jones was scheduled to count $5.6 million against the salary cap, which ranks seventh on the team. Because the team has committed millions to several key players and will be looking to give quarterback Andrew Luck a long-term extension this year, it’s even more imperative for Jones to prove he can stay healthy and play well.
Should Jones get hurt again, the Colts could save $5.15 million by cutting him after this season. But if that were to happen, he would also count $2.2 million in dead cap money in 2017 and another $1.1 million in 2018.
If the Colts cut him before June 1, he would cost $3.3 million in dead cap money. That’s why it’s in the team’s best interest to get something back on their initial investment.
Rookie Henry Anderson, a third-round selection, played well in Jones' spot with 31 tackles in nine games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
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