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Cowboys DB Byron Jones at Career Crossroads

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, 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 going forward.

The 27th-overall pick in the 2015 , Jones played 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 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 from Seattle as the new 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 and for playing time.

What's more, many have speculated that All-Pro safety could follow Kris Richard to Dallas via . If Byron Jones is going to stay at safety, would he be paired with Thomas or would the Cowboys rather see or 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 and 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.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
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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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

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