Thursday, April 22, 2010
Source: Miami made Taylor offer
By Adam Schefter
Jason Taylor had his Florida farewell news conference to tell his side of the story. And now, someone else is telling Miami's.
A source close to the situation said the Miami Dolphins did make an offer to Taylor after the 2009 season that even included an $850,000 raise that would have boosted his salary to more than $2 million per year.
The Dolphins did this despite the notion they were thought to be disappointed with Taylor's play. He was on the field for more than 800 plays, yet he accounted for fewer than 30 tackles.
Taylor, who had spent 12 of his 13 seasons with the Dolphins, agreed to a two-year contract with the New York Jets on Tuesday. League sources said Taylor could make as much as $3.75 million in the first year.
Because of the league's "Final Eight" restrictions, the Jets could pay Taylor only $1.75 million in base salary this season -- the amount unrestricted free-agent and former Jets kicker Jay Feely signed for with the Arizona Cardinals.
The second year has a $750,000 guarantee, a source told ESPN.com's John Clayton. The first year is guaranteed, so Taylor receives a $2.5 million guarantee in his deal. The deal could be worth $13 million if he meets the incentives in the contract.
During a 30-minute news conference Tuesday night at his foundation's offices in Weston, Fla., Taylor said the Dolphins offered him an extension in November, but withdrew the proposal before the season ended.
He said Miami hadn't made an offer since and gave him no reason for their lack of interest. Taylor said he had a meeting scheduled last week with coach Tony Sparano, but the Dolphins canceled it.
"If I was important enough that you wanted me in November, why wouldn't you want me now?" Taylor asked Tuesday night. "If I was good enough then, I just don't understand why I wasn't good enough now. But that's their prerogative. They're allowed to make that decision. There is a business side to football, and if they feel that it's better for their team to not have me, that's fine. I have no problem with that. That's part of the game. Just let me know."
Still, the Dolphins were willing to bring him back and even asked Taylor to undergo shoulder surgery immediately after the season. Taylor declined the Dolphins' contract offer, and opted to have the shoulder surgery a month later.
The source said this put the Dolphins in a position in which they were unsure whether Taylor wanted to continue playing.
Miami then communicated to Taylor's camp that it would wait until after the draft to re-evaluate Taylor rejoining the team. But once the Jets made the contract offer, the Dolphins reiterated to Taylor's camp they were focused on the draft and would talk to him after it was completed.
Taylor, 35, signed with the Jets on Wednesday, a day before the draft.
"This is where I'm supposed to be right now," Taylor said Wednesday in New York. "I'm here for one reason, and I'm here to play football the best that I can and help this team win a Super Bowl. If that happens here, people in Hollywood spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to end a movie, or people try to figure out how to end a book. What better ending is it than to win the Super Bowl?
"To do it here, it would be pretty ironic, but it would be awesome."
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider. Information from ESPN.com's John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.