DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Cowboys chose not to resign cornerback Byron Jones this offseason, despite entering free agency with nearly $80 million in cap space. Quarterback Dak Prescott’s franchise tag and wide receiver Amari Cooper’s $100 million deal ate up a large chunk of that space, but the team still had nearly $20 million in space left after those moves and could have signed the corner if they wanted.
Jones went on to sign a five-year $82.5 million deal with Miami, making him the richest cornerback in NFL history. According to CBS Sports the Cowboys never offered Jones a contract worth more than $12 to $13 million. Jones believes however that the Cowboys lack of interest had little to do with money, and more to do with the talent the team already has on the roster.
“I don’t think [the tag on Prescott and deal on Cooper pushed me out],” he said, via Pro Football Talk. “One thing that the Dallas Cowboys do a really good job at is drafting [well], young players, and they have a whole bunch of good corners on that team — no question about that. And those guys will be just fine without me. But they believe strongly in the way they draft, and they’ve shown over the years they draft some freaking ballers no matter [if it is the] first round, seventh round, guys in between.”
Adding, “They draft and develop really good players, so I don’t think the Dak’s and Amari’s situation had any effect on me. I think it’s their confidence in the people that they have on the roster now and who they’re going to get in the draft hopefully.”
Jones was a first-round pick by the Cowboys in 2015 and spent some time at safety before settling in at corner, where he became one of the best in the league. Jones was a pivotal piece of the Dallas defense in 2018 and 2019 and was named to the pro bowl and 2nd team all-pro for his performance in 2018.
“What really brought to me Miami was joining a young team and being a catalyst for cultural change,” he added, via NFL.com. “I wanted to be a part of the building of something special.”
“We’ve got some ballers, no question about that,” he said. “I love the prospect of joining a team that’s on the come-up. To me, that’s exciting.”
Jones joins pro-bowl corner Xavien Howard in a Miami secondary that now looks deadly to opposing quarterbacks.
The Cowboys have already started trying to fill the hole left by Jones, adding veteran corner veteran cornerback Maurice Canady.
Dallas’ defense will look very different in 2020 in addition to Jones, Jeff Heath, Maliek Collins, and Robert Quinn will all be playing for different teams next season. The team has retained Sean Lee, Joe Thomas, Justin March, and Anthony Brown. In addition to Canaday, the team has added defensive tackles, Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe.