The Dallas Cowboys face a monumental decision on quarterback Dak Prescott in the coming weeks. But they have other elite talent heading towards free agency.
Cornerback Byron Jones was a Pro Bowler in 2018 after racking up 14 passes defended, cementing his status as a lockdown corner in Dallas’ secondary.
While opposing quarterbacks had slightly more success targeting Jones this season, he also saw a fairly significant drop off in action (targeted 80 times in 2018 compared to 64 times in 2019).
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was blunt in assessing Dallas’ willingness to bring Jones back for 2020 and beyond, saying “we got some real work to do.”
In terms of bringing Byron Jones back in 2020 Jerry Jones said “we got some work to do. It’s a real challenge.”
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) February 27, 2020
Team vice president Stephen Jones previously admitted re-signing Jones was not a priority (via Samantha Previte of the New York Post):
Byron Jones might be the odd man out for the Cowboys this offseason after team vice president Stephen Jones hinted that signing the former first-round pick is not a priority.
“He’s had a great run at corner[back],” Stephen Jones told reporters at the combine on Monday. “He’s played really well, played at a high level and that’s the hard thing when you have quite a few good players on your football team: You get challenges. Byron understands that. But at the same time, he’s worried about Byron, as he should be.”
The Cowboys are rightfully concerned with negotiating a long-term deal for Prescott, who could easily become the highest-paid player in franchise history.
Considering running back Ezekiel Elliott is also eating a lot of cap space after signing a big contract of his own last year, the Cowboys might not have much room to work with as far as Jones is concerned.
Jones would likely become one of the top targets at the corner spot if he enters free agency without a new deal.