The Miami Dolphins have helped Eric Rowe evolved into an NFL starting safety this season, and it appears the franchise views him as a foundational piece to build around.
Rowe, who began the year as a boundary cornerback but has evolved into the roving safety that covers tight ends, was signed to a three-year contract extension worth $18 million, that reportedly pays him $7 million in guaranteed money.
ESPN first reported the extension, which was been confirmed by the Sun Sentinel.
His new contract extension, which will pay Rowe an average salary of $6 million a season, comes after his best performance of the year. He helped contain Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, who was limited to three receptions for 24 yards on the six passes he was thrown, in Miami's 37-31 win over the favored Eagles.
Last offseason Rowe signed a one-year deal worth $3,075,000, becoming Miami's second biggest free agent signing this offseason. His history with coach Brian Flores, who coach him in New England, helped him land in Miami.
Rowe, who has contributed 59 tackles and seven pass deflections, becomes the fourth Dolphins player to have his contract extended since August, joining offensive lineman Jesse Davis and receivers Jakeem Grant and Allen Hurns.
The move makes sense for Miami on many fronts, especially considering Rowe, 27, has helped teach the Dolphins young defenders how to play in Flores' secondary. He also fills a huge defensive void that Miami has struggled with for years, annually getting carved up by tight ends. The Dolphins tried to have Minkah Fitzpatrick, the team's 2018 first-round pick, play the rover role, but the former Alabama standout disliked it and requested a trade, which was granted when he got shipped to Pittsburgh for the Steelers' 2020 first-round pick.
However, Rowe's extension does complicate things for Bobby McCain and Reshad Jones, the veteran starting safeties recently placed on injured reserve.
Both McCain and Jones are under contract for next season, and $3 million of McCain's $5.5 million salary is guaranteed because of the shoulder injury he suffered last month, which got him placed on injured reserve.
Jones, who is also on injured reserve, is slated to make $11.58 million in 2020, and $4 million of that contract is guaranteed.
However, Rowe can always move back to cornerback, playing opposite Xavien Howard because of his position flexibility. And McCain can also return to playing the nickel cornerback spot he filled the first four years of his NFL career.
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