The Dallas Cowboys have several big-name starters set to hit free agency. Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper will be the team’s top priorities, as has been reported for quite some time. They both are expected to be retained, whether it be a long-term deal or either the franchise or transition tags. However, there is another important player for the Cowboys that is set to hit the open market and could get the biggest payday for a non-quarterback, and that’s Byron Jones.
According to Patrik Walker and Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports, Jones is likely to price himself out of Dallas when free agency begins in March. Also, former sports agent and salary cap expert Joel Corry stated he believes that Jones’s days in Dallas are numbered:
“Anything under $16 million per year with fewer than $50 million in overall guarantees would be surprising,” Corry said. “I doubt he’s back in Dallas.
There’s this belief, amongst Cowboys fans and other football fans in general, that Jones isn’t a shutdown corner because he only has two career interceptions, but you have to dive deeper into than that.
In the past two seasons, Jones has been targeted 125 times and allowed only 65 receptions (52%) and 806 yards in 31 games played. Just to put that into perspective, that’s only 26 yards given up per game. Adding just five touchdowns allowed and 20 passes defended, Jones, is without question the definition of what a true lockdown corner is supposed to be.
Jones will indeed have plenty of suitors for his services next month and rightfully so. He’s only 27 years old and has been relatively healthy throughout his career besides having surgery to fix a hip issue prior to last season. In a league that’s geared more towards outrageous offensive statistics, having a top-notch corner can’t be undervalued.
In addition to Jones, Anthony Brown is also set to be an unrestricted free agent. Brown has started 34 games for the Cowboys since 2016 as the team’s nickel or slot corner. His 2019 season came to an end in November when he tore his triceps muscle, which led to more opportunities for Jourdan Lewis. It is possible, if Jones leaves, that Brown might return to Dallas on a short deal given he’ll have the chance to really show his worth and set up a bigger payday in 2021.
If both Jones and Brown leave, however, cornerback will be a top priority in April’s NFL Draft. Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, Florida’s CJ Henderson, and LSU’s Kristian Fulton are players to keep an eye on in round one if the Cowboys go corner with their first pick.
This will all play itself out in the next few months, but one thing is for certain, the spotlight will be on the Cowboys this offseason per usual.