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PFF grades Miami’s secondary as one of the league’s highest-performing units in 2021

Building a stout secondary wasn’t cheep.

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NFL: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Byron Jones and Xavien Howard were two of Miami’s largest cap hits this season and Eric Rowe was near the top as one of the team’s highest-paid players.

From large contracts to a handful of premium draft picks, the Dolphins spent the last 36 months investing in the secondary. Pro Football Focus believes Miami has gotten solid returns in that investment, ranking the unit as the eighth-best defensive backfield in football.

Miami’s corners played more man coverage than any other team in the league and ranked sixth in PFF’s coverage grade, according to the post. Nik Needham received a grade of a top-10 slot corner and Jevon Holland earned the third-highest grade (84.6) at safety in his rookie season.

Howard, who led the league with 10 interceptions in 2020, closed with five interceptions and a pick-six in 2021. Additionally, Howard forced two fumbles and is the only member of the Dolphins to earn a spot on the Pro Bowl roster.

Jones and Howard, as of now, will be Miami’s two-largest cap hits in 2022 with Rowe, Holland and Jones all under contract as well. Needham is set to be a restricted free agent this offseason.

While the secondary has been a source of success in recent history, the unit could look a bit different next season if Miami’s next head coach has a different vision for the group. The Dolphins have a handful of head coach interviews scheduled for later this week.