WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — New team, same Tyreek Hill?

The Dolphins sent a king’s ransom to Kansas City for the wide receiver’s services — five draft picks, including a first-rounder — and then paid Hill one, too.

They inked him to a four-year, $120 million extension with $72.2 million guaranteed, making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

It’s safe to say expectations are high in Miami.

But Hill will begin his Dolphins career against New England, and since 2018, the Patriots have held the game-breaker in check for the most part. In his last three meetings against the Patriots, Hill has averaged fewer than four catches per game for 56 yards, only catching one touchdown pass; he hasn’t been the nightmare that’s terrorized other opponents.

Earlier this week Coach Bill Belichick said Hill has “rare speed,” and before practice at Palm Beach Atlantic University on Thursday, Devin McCourty said one player in the secondary deserves a lot of kudos for the job the Patriots have done on Hill.


“I would say Jon Jones doesn’t get a lot of credit on our team over the last few years with J.C. (Jackson) and Steph (Gilmore),” McCourty said. “He’s been a key part of our success. I think his ability physically to run with Tyreek Hill — as much as anybody can run with him — and go out there and compete against him. I think you pair that together with the game-plans that we’ve had, it’s been pretty good.”

The Patriots obviously didn’t have one look against those Patrick Mahomes Chiefs teams, but the meat and potatoes of those game-plans was having Jones run with Hill while McCourty played center field over the top. It was really effective, but with Hill in an entirely new system, the safety said they can’t just bank on what’s worked in the past.

“I would say this is pretty unique because now we’re going against a guy in a whole new offense,” McCourty said. “So it’s not as easy as throwing up the Kansas City film and saying, ‘Let’s do something similar to what we did before.’ I think it’s going to be different. We’ve been trying to blend the preseason games with what San Fran did and trying to say, ‘This guy could be in this role.’ But it’s hard to really tell.”

It’ll be fascinating to see how the Patriots secondary aligns on Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium. Jones has spent most of the summer on the boundary rather than his past duties in the slot. Will he simply shadow Hill now? Or does Belichick have a new trick up his sleeve?

MAC JONES had one of the most logical paths to Belichick’s captains meetings this season, but in New England nothing is given.

The second-year quarterback needed to earn a spot at that table, and his fellow captains believe he did that emphatically. Jones will be joined by Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater — both of whom are entering their 12th season as captains — David Andrews (six seasons), Ja’Whaun Bentley (second season) and fellow first-timer Deatrich Wise.


Three of those new peers spoke to the media ahead of practice at Palm Beach Atlantic University and all had a similar message: Jones was a “no-brainer.”

“I think Mac is a guy who’s come in with a lot of pressure, obviously. And he’s just risen to every challenge he’s had. I think it was a no-brainer,” McCourty said. “His leadership, his style of attacking the game that, not just his peers equal in age, but even the older guys took notice of him, too.”

Wise believed that leadership was immediate, even as Jones arrived in Foxborough as a 22-year-old last spring.

“Tremendous,” Wise said. “He’s one of those types of guys who definitely, since Day 1, has been able to command the offense and command greatness around him. So he’s doing a great job from Year 1 to Year 2.”

Andrews thought the most telling thing was how Jones was elected: The team picks captains, not coaches or anybody else.

“He’s done a great job,” Andrews said. “Lot of respect for how he carries himself, comes to work each day. Obviously, that shows what it means to the team because it’s a team vote.”


Even Nelson Agholor, who isn’t a captain but remains an eight-year veteran, sang Jones’ praises ahead of Thursday’s practice.

“He leads by example,” Agholor said. “How he works, how he prepares, his consistency. Those are exact examples of a great captain. Guys don’t always have to say a lot of stuff. But he does a lot of things well consistently. And I think if you work with him, you feed off of that.”

THE PATRIOTS are in very good health heading into their opener.

For the second consecutive day at Palm Beach Atlantic University, every member of New England’s 53-man roster was present. Ty Montgomery, Isaiah Wynn, and Jakobi Meyers — all of whom were listed on Wednesday’s injury report — were on the field. As far as the practice squad goes, Harvey Langi returned and Cameron McGrone was absent.

Amusingly, Trent Brown decided to stretch with the defense on Thursday and dwarfed everybody on that side of the field, too.

For the second of three practices in West Palm Beach, players were in shorts and shells as the team tries to acclimate to South Florida heat ahead of Sunday’s date with Miami. Thursday’s practice was actually moved up an hour due to the looming threat of afternoon thunderstorms.

Belichick took a lighter approach to training camp this summer and it seems to have paid dividends injury-wise. Only three guys on the injury report is a ridiculously low total, and none of them are dealing with soft-tissue injuries either. Beyond that, Tyquan Thornton is the only meaningful player currently on injured reserve; the team should be very close to full strength this weekend.

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