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Miami Dolphins announce contract extension for kicker Jason Sanders through 2026

Miami Dolphins announce contract extension for kicker Jason Sanders through 2026
Dec 22, 2019; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders (7) kicks the game winning field goal in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins secured one of the NFL’s best kickers in Jason Sanders to a massive contract extension on Tuesday.

Sanders was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2020 after connecting on 36 of 39 field goal attempts and all 36 of his extra point tries.

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Jason Sanders signs huge contract with Miami Dolphins

In a post from their official Twitter feed, the Dolphins showed Sanders putting pen to paper on a contract that keeps him with the team through the 2026 season:

According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, Sanders’ new five-year deal is worth $22 million in total, including $10 million in guaranteed money.

Forking over this much money for a kicker may seem outlandish, yet games in the NFL are routinely very close and can be decided by one possession. Having a reliable kicker like Sanders in the fold is invaluable for a Miami team that continues to move in the right direction amid a rebuild following a solid 10-6 record this past season.

Originally a seventh-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of New Mexico, Sanders has risen from small-school obscurity to a truly elite NFL kicker.

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Miami Dolphins’ salary cap priorities after Jason Sanders extension

Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders (7) celebrates with head coach Brian Flores after kicking a 44-yard field goal for the winning score against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 26-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Securing a kicker for the long haul is a luxury the Dolphins can afford. However, in order for the team to take that next step and reach the playoffs in 2021, it’ll take more spending in the free-agent market and a strong draft class to keep the momentum going under head coach Brian Flores.

The main priorities, whether it be on the open market or predominantly through the draft, revolve around the offensive side of the ball. It’s vital for Miami to surround second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with viable skill players and improved pass protection in order for him to assert his status as the franchise quarterback.

Although the Dolphins invested heavily in the offensive line during the 2020 draft, they could stand to use a more veteran presence for that unit. When it comes to the skill positions, though, Miami could really make out well in the draft by nabbing the top receiver with the No. 3 overall pick and potentially a top-flight tailback with either its second first-round choice or top Day 2 selection.

Recent rumors suggest the Dolphins are looking for a dynamic slot weapon to complement the likes of DeVante Parker in the receiving corps and will target multiple receivers in free agency. If veterans are deemed too pricey, one route Miami could go in the draft is reigning Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, who’d reunite with Tagovailoa after they shared time together as Alabama teammates.

Thanks to Flores’ system and some savvy spending by Fins general manager Chris Grier, the defense is looking great for the next several years. What will be critical to Miami’s success or lack thereof is how Tagovailoa develops, and that’s largely tied to the supporting cast around him.

With some cap space still left over to work with following Sanders’ extension and even the possibility of using some of their premium draft assets to trade for established offensive stars, look for Grier and the Dolphins front office to be aggressive as they try to make a strong playoff push next season.

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