Byron Jones could be prime offseason target for Kansas City Chiefs
By Matt Conner
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones could be the free agent prize awaiting the Kansas City Chiefs this coming offseason.
The Dallas Cowboys have a talent-laden roster and many of those players are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this coming spring.
The Cowboys have tried to keep the players they want most from hitting that mark, and they already locked up running back Ezekiel Elliott. However, quarterback Dak Prescott, cornerback Byron Jones and wide receiver Amari Cooper are still waiting for their contract extensions.
According to CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora, Prescott is the next target and he might require the use of the team’s franchise tag if a deal cannot be reached in time. La Canfora goes to say that Jones and Cooper are both likely to hit free agency instead of coming to terms beforehand with Jerry Jones if that happens.
"“Similarly, there has been no communication between the Cowboys and Jones either, sources said, and no talks are expected. With years of starting experience at safety and corner, Jones, a former first-round pick, is positioned well on the open market and sources said it looks increasingly likely he will be elsewhere in 2020.”"
Both players would become popular free agents with multiple suitors if either or both were to hit the market. That said, Jones is the one player who matters for our purposes.
Jones is a former first round pick who has developed into a Pro Bowl cornerback despite starting his NFL career at safety, giving his defensive coordinator plenty of versatility based on scheme and depth chart. He’s a willing tackler who has grown in his coverage ability and can sit outside and be an asset for any team these days. Plus his history as a safety and physical stature at 6’2, 205 lbs. make him an imposing fixture in the secondary.
For the Chiefs, it’s been interesting to see how little the team seems interested in bringing back any of the players who have put up such a great season in the defensive backfield. The team’s coverage unit has become a strength, but Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland and Mo Claiborne are all scheduled to become free agents themselves. Claiborne plays the least amount of snaps, but the former pair have been key to the success of the overall unit. Yet no rumors of any extension talks have come forth.
Compare that to Chris Jones, for example, and rumors have been persistent for quite some time. The same can be said for Patrick Mahomes‘ upcoming extension or the fact that the Chiefs wanted to sign Frank Clark to a long-term deal. Typically these things are teased out in the media if a deal is to be made as the sides use the media to push for the terms they want.
Last year the Chiefs were eerily silent on anything to do with Steven Nelson‘s future and he bolted for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the early days of free agency. Are the Chiefs willing to lose Breeland and/or Fuller in the same way? If so, it might signal that Veach has his eyes on a bigger prize, one who could give the Chiefs a high-ceiling veteran talent to anchor a young unit in 2020 and beyond.