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Byron Jones expected to become highest-paid defensive back in NFL history

Byron Jones, Cowboys

Cornerback Byron Jones, who has been an impact player for the Dallas Cowboys, is on the precipice of getting paid. With the 2020 NFL free agency period getting closer to opening, many teams around the league are reportedly anticipating Jones becoming the highest-paid cornerback in league history, per Jon Machota of The Athletic.

Since entering the league as a first-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, Jones has become an integral part of the franchise’s secondary. A one-time Pro Bowl selection, Jones deflected six passes and compiled a career-low 46 tackles last season, none of which came for a loss.

Despite that decrease in raw statistical production, many see Jones as having room to further establish himself as one of the league’s preeminent cover corners, as he will enter 2020 for his age-28 season.

It was back in May that Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard set the bar as the highest-paid cornerback in league history, netting himself $76.5 million over five years. But Howard’s deal came as a contract extension; Jones is unlikely to land back with the Cowboys unless the organization decides to bypass resigning either quarterback Dak Prescott or wide receiver Amari Cooper.

The largest free-agent contract ever given to a corner remains the five years and $75 million that Josh Norman got to join Washington in April 2016. That deal never reached its conclusion, as the franchise decided to release him back in February.

There are only four teams in the league with more cap space than Dallas — Miami, Indianapolis, Buffalo and Tampa Bay. While the market for Jones remains somewhat quiet as to avoid tampering issues, that can be expected to change beginning next week.