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CB Byron Jones Predicted As One Of The “Worst Contracts Of Free Agency”

Byron Jones is an enigma.

Very rarely is a player so undeniably good, while also receiving substantial criticism for the areas in which he struggles. No one will tell you that Byron is “trash,” but it’s tough to find those who tell you he’s elite either.

Despite what his on-field play and natural athleticism strongly suggest.

Jones is now entering unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career, and it’s sounding more and more like we’ll be referring to him as a “former Cowboys cornerback” in just a few weeks. Dallas has all but publicly renounced his rights, and all the smoke around their contract discussions center around Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper.

So now we must ask, is letting Byron Jones walk a good move?

Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report thinks so. Brad predicted 8 of the “worst contracts” to come in 2020 free agency, with cornerback Byron Jones making the list.

“Plenty of teams have already been linked to the suddenly popular cornerback, with Spotrac projecting his market value at $14.1 million annually. Does that make sense for a player who ranked 17th among qualified corners at PFF in 2019, has made the Pro Bowl just once and has just two career interceptions in five seasons?”

Let’s be clear: Byron Jones’ lack of interceptions does not factor heavily into my evaluation of him or his contract.

The Cowboys defensive backs have clearly been coached to play the receiver’s hands, rather than getting their heads around early in routes and contesting the ball for interceptions. They’ve also been told to avoid giving up the big play above all else – otherwise known as “bend, don’t break.”

When you apply these coaching points in practice, you see less turnovers. You also allow less big plays, but interceptions really aren’t going to come with any type of frequency.

Jones himself is a freakish cornerback. His length, athleticism, and speed give him all the tools to be a lock down man coverage corner, as well as a rangy defender in zone. And, with the Cowboys, he’s done just that.

Jones became the tight end eraser while at safety, but caught flack from fans due to his lack of physicality in the box. Then he moved out to cornerback full time and immediately had an All Pro season in 2018.

Byron Jones is a stud. That’s it. That’s the evaluation. He is going to get paid this offseason, and the number may shock some people. But letting your top cornerback and one of the top 3 defensive players on your roster walk is never the ideal move.

It may work out. Maybe they can improve in the margins at cornerback through the draft. Maybe Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis both take steps forward, it’s certainly possible.

But Byron Jones has earned this deal he’s going to get. And it’s a shame it has to come somewhere other than Dallas.

What do you think?

Kevin Brady

Written by Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

Comments

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  1. Opinions vary and yours is far from the mark. Jones is a slightly above average CB that is going to be over paid by someone who will regret it. He is the 2nd coming of Josh Norman and Dallas is smart to let him go instead of paying top money for not a top CB. I hope Philly signs him.

  2. I really think judging CBs by their interceptions ALONE is as smart as judging Quarterbacks by Superbowls won, except that the Superbowl is decidely a TEAM win and interceptions, while they are not as well, are not the only measures of a Corrnerback. I’m not saying that JUST being a shut-down CB is worth $14M+/ year, but it comes close.

  3. I like Byron Jones, but I don’t think he’s worth top CB money!! And it’s NOT because he don’t get interceptions!! It’s because he gives up too many first downs!! He don’t give up that many big plays down field, but when we have a team at 3rd and long and ready to get the offense on the field he gives up just enough yards to keep the defense on the field!! I remember cussing at him a lot last season over that!! I wouldn’t mind keeping him, but won’t pay him top CB money to do it!!

  4. I’ve been on the fence regarding Jones. Yesterday I watched the 2018 OT game against Philly where Cooper scored on the deflected pass. Before OT, with less than 2 minutes and Philly driving for the tie, Jones gets burned deep by Aghalor by time. He’s not a playmaker in any sense. He’ll hold down the fort at DB, but he’s nowhere near 14 mil a year. Let him go.

  5. Dallas could keep him and other key players if Dak hadn’t gotten greedy. Some agent apparently got into his head! You need a team around you and what you’ve been offered is beyond your worth.

  6. Byron Jones is NOT WORTH big money!!! He gets beat SO OFTEN which is so confusing that people call him an elite corner. Watch entire games in key situations and you’ll see him get beat so often. Elite receivers seem to dominate him. He doesn’t intercept balls or create fumbles. He gets beat on keys passing plays. So glad the Boys will not resign him!!!

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