For the last few months, it seemed clear the Cowboys would not be bringing back Byron Jones.
Not because they didn't value him, but just didn't think they could compete with other teams that might break the bank to get him.
Turns out, the Miami Dolphins are going to make Jones the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL after agreeing to terms on a deal that will pay Jones nearly $17 million per season. Overall, the deal is reportedly in the range of five years, $82.5 million with $57 million guaranteed.
Jones will pair up with Xavien Howard, who signed a deal worth over $15 million per season last year, giving the Dolphins the two current highest-paid corners in the NFL.
The Cowboys selected Jones out of UConn with the 27th pick in the 2015 after he excelled at the NFL Combine where he broke the record for the standing broad jump. Over the course of his career with the Cowboys, Jones has provided athleticism and versatility.
Dallas converted him to free safety in his rookie season and he played multiple seasons at the position before defensive backs coach Kris Richard made the decision to move him back to his natural position of cornerback where he thrived and was named second-team All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl in 2018. Jones became the first defensive back in Cowboys history to make the Pro Bowl without getting an interception.
After another solid season in 2019, Jones' future with the Cowboys started to become unclear. Last month, Stephen Jones implied that keeping Jones on the roster going forward would be a difficult task for the front office.
"Byron's a guy we think a lot of," Jones said. "He's had a great run at corner, he's played really well, played at a high level. That's the hard thing when you have quite a few good players on your football team, is you get challenges."
Byron Jones was valued on the open market for his versatility and his ability to stick with top-tier receivers, but a long-running storyline in Dallas was his inability to generate turnovers. In his five-year career he has recorded just two interceptions, and one of those came on a relatively meaningless Hail Mary attempt.