Dallas Cowboys: Here’s the Big Dilemma With Byron Jones

Byron Jones #31 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Byron Jones #31 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

It’s time for the Dallas Cowboys to decide what the future holds for Byron Jones because they may not have much of a choice next offseason.

If you think managing free agency and re-signing players this offseason has been tough for the Dallas Cowboys, just wait until next offseason. The 2020 offseason promises to be an all-time cluster-fudge of expiring deals and contract nightmares for the Dallas front office.

Getting ahead of it early is imperative or else the Dallas Cowboys may be bidding farewell to players they otherwise intend to re-sign. While Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper take clear priority right now, Byron Jones is someone who should be addressed sooner rather than later, because if the Cowboys wait, he’s most assuredly gone next summer.

If this season is any indication, agreeing to new deals with franchise players takes time. A lot of time. It’s precisely the reason why the NFL offers the use of a franchise tag once a year. It allows clubs to maintain ownership while they negotiate those difficult multi-year deals.

The only problem is they can only be used on one player per offseason. And next offseason the Dallas Cowboys have multiple players looking at market-busting multi-year deals. Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Jaylon Smith, and Jones are all unrestricted next offseason.

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Where does Byron rank?

Of those cornerstone players above, where does Bryon Jones rank? I think we can all agree Dak ain’t going nowhere and he’s most assuredly locked into the long-term plans of this franchise. Cooper is also probably a sure-thing given Dallas’ first round investment this year and his undeniable impact on the field. And Jaylon is already a top-3 LB in the NFL with the chance to be the best MIKE in the game before all is said and done.

Byron? He had a good year last season and established himself as a true No. 1 CB. But for as good as he was, he’s not proven elite amongst his peers.  Rated as the twelfth CB in the league last season by Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Jones is someone we all like. But if this franchise is forced to choose, he may be the odd man out.

That’s why it’s important the Dallas Cowboys decide today what their intentions are with Jones. Because a wait-and-see approach probably won’t work given the sheer number of unrestricted free agents Dallas has on their roster.

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So the dilemma is, Dallas can probably only afford to re-sign Byron Jones if they do so before the 2019 season. If they wait until after he may be priced out of their market.

But if they pony up the cash proactively and Jones fails to live up to his contract, the Cowboys are saddled with his long-term contract. Keep in mind, this was Jones’ first real season as a CB and while the first half of the season was brilliant, the second half was truly underwhelming.

With such a small sample size, the prudent thing is to wait. But as explained before. Waiting may make this situation too little too late. That’s because, at the least, Jaylon Smith will be a free agent next March, and Jaylon will probably be the one secured with the franchise tag as the two sides negotiate (I fully expect Amari and Dak to get new deals at some point this year).

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Playing on the last year of his rookie deal, Byron Jones is at a crossroads in his Dallas Cowboys career. The free safety turned cornerback boosted his value tremendously last season, and provided he can repeat his ‘18 performance in ’19, he could be one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the NFL next offseason. But Dallas may have to decide now what they want to do – extend him proactively this offseason or lose him in 11 months.

  • Published on 04/11/2019 at 12:30 PM
  • Last updated at 04/11/2019 at 12:14 PM