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Cowboys DB Byron Jones at Career Crossroads

Jess Haynie

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Byron Jones 1
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Dallas Cowboys safety Byron Jones has reached a critical point in his career. 2018 could easily be his last year in Dallas if the former first-round pick does not clearly establish his role, and value, for the defense going forward.

The 27th-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Jones played cornerback in his rookie season just as he had at the University of Connecticut. However, even when he was first drafted, Byron was often looked at as having a brighter future at safety.

That transition came in Jones' second season and to good reviews. The expectations for 2017 were very high with a full year under his belt, plus the general rule when it comes to players entering their third professional season.

Unfortunately, last year did not see Byron Jones emerge as the elite safety we'd hoped for. Only one interception and very few other notable defensive plays were disappointing, especially given the improvements in the Cowboys pass rush from 2016.

Byron Jones, #31

Dallas Cowboys safety Byron Jones

That leaves Jones' future with the Dallas Cowboys as a pretty big question mark going into this fourth and final contract season. There are a few factors which could make 2018 his last with the team.

Since Byron was a first-round pick, the Cowboys do hold a team option for a fifth year on his rookie deal. That would be a costly move, though, as it would give Jones an $8.7 million salary and cap hit for 2019. He hasn't earned that kind of money yet, and Dallas certainly isn't in a position to pay it without seeing equal value on the field.

The arrival of Kris Richard from Seattle as the new Defensive Backs Coach could be major for Byron's future. Richard may like Jones better as a cornerback, given that he fits the physical mold of corners that Richard had with the Seahawks. Transitioning back to CB could be a good thing for Byron's career, but it also means competing with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis for playing time.

What's more, many have speculated that All-Pro safety Earl Thomas could follow Kris Richard to Dallas via free agency. If Byron Jones is going to stay at safety, would he be paired with Thomas or would the Cowboys rather see Xavier Woods or Kavon Frazier competing for that spot?

There's plenty of room for Byron Jones to have a productive year and remain with the Cowboys beyond 2018. However, he clearly does not enjoy the same job security that guys like Travis Frederick and Zack Martin have had as their rookie contracts recently expired. Jones will need to become much more noticeable, a clear difference-maker, to ensure he remains in Dallas beyond next season.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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4 Comments
  • John McClain

    Horrible coaching decisions have hurt Byron Jones. He can grow to be a star at free safety but he is in no way a strong safety. This has been bad on the coaches not Jones

  • DJ Sixty

    Coach Clappy and his cronies ruined this dude career.

  • Randy Martin

    I am certain if you look back on discussion boards after the draft there are some of posts expressing disappointment with taking Jones at 27. While certainly not a bust, he has been “serviceable” in my opinion but why on earth would you draft a player that high and ready to start his 4th season and not even know where he will play his best football? He is a poster child for combine performance causing a team to reach based on athleticism. I mean I like the guy but his play is more like a day 2, day 3 player. This is truly a crucial year for him and we can only hope Kris Richard can bring out the best in him and show us why we reached for him at 27. If not, I don’t see picking up his option.

  • Travis Diggs

    His best season was at corner but they chose to put him at safety because of safety being an issue for so long. Put him back at corner where we seen him at his best and pair somebody else with Xavier Woods

Dallas Cowboys

Trade for Cooper Shows Where Cowboys Stand on Prescott

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Time to Stop Making Excuses for QB Dak Prescott?

The Dallas Cowboys clearly needed a starting wide receiver, so they went out and got one. The Oakland Raiders were willing to shop the two time Pro-Bowler and the Jones were willing to pull the trigger. This year, offense has been the problem for Dallas and a WR1 should give the fans a bit of hope for the remainder of the 2018 season, a year in which the division title is very much on reach as it's only led by a 4-2 Washington team.

There's no much debate as to whether or not Amari Cooper's arrival to the team helps the offense or not. Cooper is undeniably better than Allen Hurns or Deonte Thompson and his impact will be immediately felt on the field when the Cowboys play the Tennessee Titans after their bye week.

The concern surrounding this trade has to do with the compensation aspect. Dallas decided to part ways with a first round pick to get Cooper. That's a lot. It's hard to justify giving away a first rounder and Cooper will have to try to fix the offense to prove he was worth it.

Dallas Cowboys Interest in Raiders WR Amari Cooper Increases

But the meaning of this trade goes deeper than that. Due to Dak Prescott's struggles in 2018, many are rightfully questioning his future on the Cowboys. Is he the franchise QB we thought he was in 2016 or was he really just a "one-year-wonder"?

Playing his third year as the team's starting quarterback, negotiation time is not far for the Cowboys and Prescott. So far, he's not proven to be worth the huge contracts signal-callers have been getting around the league lately.

But this trade is a clear indicator on where the front office stands regarding Dak. They are all-in on him. He's not going anywhere for a while and they just proved it by trading for Cooper. If the Cowboys were to consider moving on from Prescott after 2018, they would've probably saved a first round pick to have the option of going for his replacement on the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Instead, they are getting their young QB a strong weapon for him to throw the ball to.

It looks like Prescott's play would have to keep regressing in order for this front office to consider making a move here down the road.

Trusting Dak is not a wrong decision here. He might not be elite or even close to being among the league's best but he should be able to compete with a strong supporting cast around him. Cooper is great at creating separation which will only help Dak connect with him often and open un the passing game as well as the running game.

On the other hand, though, this should put a bit more pressure on Prescott. He's got a WR1, a great slot receiver and one hell of a running back. He must take advantage of the position the front office is putting him in. There are no excuses now.

Whether or not the Cowboys paid "way too much," their offense is better today than it was last Sunday. We'll have to wait until November 11th to watch him and Dak Prescott connect with each other. With a little bit of execution, they should have Cowboys Nation feeling better about giving away a first rounder.

Tell me what you think about "Trade for Cooper Shows Where Cowboys Stand on Prescott" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Offense, Coaches Have a Ways to Go Still

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Offense, Coaches Have a Ways to Go Still
Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another mood swing for Cowboys Nation. The Dallas Cowboys failed to get what would have been their first road win in 2018. They fell short of taking the Washington Redskins to overtime in an NFC East match up that was lost as the visiting team kept shooting themselves on the foot.

As Dallas falls back to a losing record on the season, there are a lot of things to point out regarding last Sunday's heartbreaking loss.

Here is this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday! As always, feel free to tell me your thoughts on the comments section below.

Cowboys 2-Minute Drill Faltered Under Faulty Clock Managment 1

Cowboys could've had the "ugly win" but ended up with horrific loss.

The Cowboys have lost four games in total this season and this one is definitely the most painful one yet. Why? Despite all the drive-killing penalties and mistakes they made, Jason Garrett's team actually had a chance to walk away from FedExField as the NFC East leader.

But they didn't. Instead, a "snap infraction" pushed them back five yards and Brett Maher failed his first field goal attempt since week 1 as the football hit the post.

What's even worse, is that once again, this team proved to have a ton of flaws. This isn't just about poor quarterback play, wide receivers dropping passes, offensive linemen getting beat or about coaching.

It's about all of it collectively being bad and inconsistent.

A couple of weeks ago, we were complaining about Garrett not being aggressive enough to go for it on fourth and one on the opponent's 42. In response to the immense backlash from fans, analysts and even Jerry Jones, Garrett went for it on fourth and one in his own territory in Washington.

This was definitely a good call. In this case, coaching was good, but execution wasn't. Dak Prescott fumbled on a simple QB sneak and the drive was done. The Dallas Cowboys have many, many issues. Pointing the finger at one coach or one player will not make the difference.

This isn't your 2016 offensive line.

Since 2014, Cowboys Nation has been proud of this team's offensive line. Filled with elite talent, no one would ever beat them, but things have changed. Ron Leary and Doug Free are long gone and Connor Williams and La'el Collins have taken their places. Travis Frederick is sidelined with an immune system syndrome and well... as much as you and I hate to admit it, Tyron Smith is not the same.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

So far today... Tyron Smith penalty kills a great run by Dak. Connor Williams penalty kills a great throw from Dak to Beasley. La'el Collins penalty kills a great run by Dak.

They can make blocks and are an above-average unit, but the penalties make them look like a terrible one. The game started with a huge gain erased by a holding penalty and a few plays later it was the Redskins with the lead 7-0.

Prescott hasn't played very well, and this OL's struggles are a big part of the why.

Simply put, Dak needs to be better.

Before we say Prescott is a terrible quarterback and a one-year wonder, let's try to find some middle ground. Dak is not a great quarterback. He's not an elite gunslinger that will put the team on his back and lead them to victories. He's definitely not that. But he's also not a terrible quarterback and he's not the worst QB in the NFL.

With a strong supporting cast, I think Dak Prescott is a very capable QB. Does that make him special? No. Does that make him a bad player? No.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Redskins 7

Now granted, this has been a bad year for him and that needs to change. He's taking longer to make the throw, his poise isn't nearly as good as in 2016 and his in-pocket awareness needs improvement. Against the Redskins, we might've seen one of the worst plays in his career.

With Michael Gallup breaking open deep, Prescott doesn't make the throw and instead tries to roll out of the pocket. First off, there is simply no excuse in not making that pass. He didn't even have to "throw him open." He just had to take the shot. But he didn't.

Then, he fumbles the ball and Washington takes it in for six. Yikes.

We know he can be better, we've seen him playing way better football than he is right now. Even if the OL isn't performing as well or his receivers are dropping balls (because they are), he must step up. It's okay if he doesn't put up elite performances, but come on.

Despite the scoreboard, Cowboys defense is legit.

Before we end this Takeaway Tuesday, let's say goodbye with a positive note. The Cowboys' defense is very, very good. The Redskins' first TD came early in the game after a rare bad punt from Chris Jones that gave Alex Smith and company a very good spot to start the offensive drive.

In a disastrous opening performance, the Cowboys let them march the ball into the end zone and give them the early seven-point lead. After that, Dallas only allowed six points on defense. Note that the Redskins' second touchdown came from Prescott's fumble mentioned above.

Sean Lee was great in his comeback to the field. The defensive line also put a nice game and the secondary made sure to exploit a banged up receiving core. At least we have our defense to feel good about.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Offense, Coaches Have a Ways to Go Still" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Dallas Cowboys

History Working Against Amari Cooper Trade Working Out For Dallas

Brian Martin

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History Working Against Amari Cooper Trade Working Out For Dallas 1

When it comes to trading for wide receivers, the Dallas Cowboys don't exactly have the best track record. That is why I wasn't all that happy to hear the Cowboy sent their 2019 first-round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for Amari Cooper, especially knowing how a couple of trades just like this have worked out in the past.

Giving up a first-round draft pick is a tough pill to swallow, especially after we saw the New England Patriots acquire Josh Gordon for just a fifth rounder. Talk about a slap in the face. I personally believe Gordon is a better WR than Cooper, but that's a discussion for another time. What I want to talk about today is history hopefully not repeating itself for the Cowboys.

Unfortunately, the Amari Cooper trade looks a lot like a couple of wide receiver trades the Dallas Cowboys have made in the past. Yes, I'm talking about the acquisitions of Roy Williams and Joey Galloway, arguably the worst two trades in Cowboys history.

Roy Williams

Dallas Cowboys WR Roy Williams

You may have forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys sent to first-round draft picks to the Seattle Seahawks in a trade to acquire Joey Galloway back in 2000. He spent three whole seasons and part of a fourth in Dallas and never really lived up to the expectations he brought with him from the Seahawks. His most productive season with the Cowboys was in 2002 where he caught 61 passes for 908 yards and six touchdowns, hardly worth two first round draft picks.

The Dallas Cowboys didn't learn their lesson from the Joey Galloway trade and decided to throw caution to the wind once again when they acquired Roy Williams in 2008 from the Detroit Lions. Williams only spent three seasons in Dallas and like Galloway, didn't live up to the 1st, 3rd, and 6th round draft picks traded away to acquire him.

I really don't know how all of you feel about history repeating itself, but the Amari Cooper trade just has way too many similarities to the acquisitions of Roy Williams and Joey Galloway for me to have too much hope of it being successful. I guess we could take a little solace in the fact the Cowboys just gave up one draft pick if that helps any.

Amari Cooper has about a year and a half with the Dallas Cowboys to prove the organization doesn't have some kind of curse when it comes to trading for wide receivers. He becomes a free agent in 2020 unless an extension is worked out before hand. It's not a lot of time to prove oneself, especially since he's joining a new team with a new QB, but that's the situation he finds himself in now.

History repeating itself with the Cowboys acquisition of Amari Cooper?



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