The New York Giants and New York Jets are expected to make a push for soon-to-be free-agent cornerback Byron Jones.
The NFL’s new league year begins on March 18 at 4:00 p.m. ET. That means the free agency period — which commences at the exact same time — is right around the corner. Many players will test the open market in search of brand new contracts from potentially brand new teams.
This includes Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones, whose contract is expiring this offseason. Jones is still in his prime at 27 years of age and possesses plenty of talent. Thus, there will be a number of teams working to sign him, including the pair of local squads.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted this week that he expects both the New York Giants and New York Jets to make a push for the Pro Bowl defensive back.
“I believe it’ll be one of the NY Giants, NY Jets, Eagles or Las Vegas Raiders for the services of Byron Jones” – @AdamSchefter
— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) March 4, 2020
Jones received his lone Pro Bowl nod during the 2018 season. He additionally was a second-team All-Pro that year, a campaign in which the Cowboys won the NFC East. Jones finished that season with 67 combined tackles and 14 passes defended through 16 games.
The numbers were down this past year though. Jones combined for 46 total tackles and six passes defended through 15 matchups.
Dallas originally drafted Jones out of UConn with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Giants possess glaring holes at numerous positions, but arguably one of the more crucial needs is at cornerback. Big Blue’s secondary finished 28th in the league last year with 264.1 passing yards allowed per game. The Giants also waived Janoris Jenkins last December, so they’re without that veteran presence for the young guys.
Jones could be that much-needed mentor.
But if the Giants don’t end up inking Jones to a deal, they could look to April’s draft to bolster the secondary. One prospect to pay attention to is Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah. The Buckeye was a unanimous first-team All-American in 2019.
An issue with Okudah though is the fact that he may not be available for the Giants at No. 4 (if New York stays there). The Lions — whose defensive backfield ranked last in 2019 with 284.4 passing yards allowed per game — may take him at No. 3.
Okudah could greatly improve a struggling Lions secondary while also eventually replacing Darius Slay. The Pro Bowl corner straightforwardly expressed his desire to leave Detroit in a tweet last month.
I will for sure leave lol https://t.co/XurFCyoLeA
— Darius Slay (@bigplay24slay) February 10, 2020