LikeLike WTFWTF AngryAngry LoveLove HahaHaha OMGOMG

Could Mike Nolan’s Comments Mean the End of Byron Jones in Dallas?

This is a big offseason for the Dallas Cowboys’ front office. Probably the most important offseason in years. They’ve got four key players — Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Robert Quinn, and Byron Jones — set to be free agents when the league year begins March 18th.

While it’s debatable where he should stand in the team’s list of priorities, Byron Jones is a player they can’t afford to lose given the group that would be left over at cornerback. Anthony Brown is also a free agent, which leaves Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis as the only holdovers from the 2019 season.

Last week, Vice President of Player Personnel Will McClay spoke about Byron Jones and didn’t commit to bringing Jones back this offseason. Yesterday, speaking to the media for the first time, new Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan spoke a bit about the cornerback position, creating more doubt about Jones returning to the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Mike Nolan shared a story Troy Aikman once told him while discussing ball hawks: “I’m not really concerned w/ throwing at a corner that I know is just gonna knock the ball down. I throw incompletions all the time. But when I throw at Deion, I gotta be concerned about (a Pick-6).

Though Byron Jones has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL since making the switch from safety in 2018, one criticism of his game is the lack of turnovers created compared to his contemporaries. It’s been a struggle, as Jones has only two interceptions since being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Byron Jones doesn’t get targeted very often, but these comments from Mike Nolan may indicate that Jones doesn’t have a future with the Dallas Cowboys given his inability to create turnovers. Getting interceptions isn’t the only thing that matters when playing cornerback, but it appears that Nolan and his defensive staff are going to put an emphasis on playing players who can take the ball away.

In combination with Will McClay’s thoughts on Jones from last week, the Dallas Cowboys could be laying the ground work for the departure of Byron Jones this offseason.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys DC Mike Nolan said he wants a swarming defense: “The No. 1 thing in winning football games is getting the ball for your offense. As a defense, that’s what we’ll strive to do all the time.

Nolan’s comments about the importance of creating turnovers is something we’ve heard before under Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard. However, there’s reason to believe that the Cowboys will be better in this department moving forward.

As opposed to the bend don’t break, minimal blitzing style we’ve seen under the Marinelli-Richard defense, Nolan will be bringing a more attacking style of defense focused on creating pressure. Nolan’s defense’s generally have very high blitz rates and they do a great job at creating turnovers.

It’s certainly possible that Byron Jones returns and finds his ability to take the ball away in a new scheme. We won’t get a clear indication of the Cowboys’ plans for Jones until we get closer to the start of the free agency period.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, it would be a mistake to let Byron Jones walk. With the lack of depth at cornerback, his ability, and the typical rookie transition period that takes place, the Cowboys would suffer a drop off in play from Jones to Jourdan Lewis or Anthony Brown if he returns.

A lot can change as the Cowboys dice further into the 2020 offseason, but reading between the lines of McClay and Nolan’s comments, you can’t help but wonder if Byron Jones will be with another team week one of the 2020 season. Only time will tell.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


Leave a Reply
      • I’m going to reference a Michael Irvin comment again from years ago. If you don’t have a pass rush and these receivers can run around all day passes will be completed no matter how good you think your secondary is. There are CB’s in the draft, maybe free agency who probably would be good enough. Resign Quinn with the money. Jimmy Johnson let Everson Walls go in 90. How did the Cowboys do after that? Yes I know Walls went on to win a SB with the Giants. I just can’t get by the no INT’s. They need ball hawks.

        • By the way John we are going to pay him 15 mil a year so we can go 8&8? I could be wrong but I predict they don’t bring him back. I think McCarthy and his staff know what they are doing.

          • I think they know what they’re doing, but I think it would be a mistake to underrate Byron Jones and not bring him back.

            What if you could figure out a way to keep both Quinn and Byron Jones, because the possibility exists, even while retaining Dak and Amari.

            Restructure Jaylon and La’el to create cap space in addition to the alread $80 mil you have available and structure the year one cap hits in concert with one another to make the math work.

          • Creative thinking John but they are almost at 0 dead money and they may want to keep it that way. By the way a report just came out that Dak will probably be franchised.

          • Creative thinking John but they are almost at 0 dead money and they may want to keep it that way. By the way a report just came out that Dak will probably be franchised.

    • Chido could benefit from playing in a different scheme. He’s also young and he’s not breaking the bank. Jones is going to want a lot of money that could be used on other players. He was very average this past year and Troy is right, no quarterback is afraid of someone who just knocks the ball down. I don’t think losing Jones is going to be as hurtful as this article is making it seem like. I’d say let him walk and focus on bringing Quinn back.

  1. Awuzie struggled the most part of the season and Jordan Lewis isn’t experienced enough.. Byron Jones is the only bright spot in the back end. Yes Byron doesn’t get interceptions but you can argue that he doesn’t get alot of balls thrown his way. You paid 50 million to bum azz brandon car and Terrance Newman for years but Byron cant get a new contract.. what a joke. And hes a top 5 corner

    • Agreed. I don’t want to see this defense without Byron Jones. When someone shuts down one half of the field, it makes things so much easier for a defense. And if Mike Nolan is as aggressive as many think he will, then Jones could actually show some improvement in the takeaway department. If quarterbacks are forced to rush their throws, they make poor throws, leading to opportunities to create turnovers.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Cowboys Draft Target: LSU Safety Grant Delpit

Cowboys Draft Target: LSU Safety Grant Delpit

Will a Revamped Staff Bring the Cowboys Defense Back to Form? 2

Will a Revamped Staff Bring the Cowboys Defense Back to Form?