Amidst the barrage of reports to fly out of the NFL Combine, it’s officially been reported that the Dallas Cowboys and CB Byron Jones have agreed to go their separate ways. Now before you scoff at a move for a former Cowboy, it’s important to understand why the Eagles have been listed as leading candidates to secure his services.
Yes, he is a highly-priced corner and there are still scars from the likes of Namdi Asomugha and Byron Maxwell. But Jones is a special talent in a league that’s thriving offensively. Byron Jones is 27-years-old, which fits the criteria of youth that Howie Roseman wants to go with. While he isn’t really known for getting interceptions, he’s everything you want in a shutdown corner. According to PFF, He’s only allowed 0.39 yards per coverage snap in press man in 2019.
Of course, a cornerback of his caliber will come a price that may feel unsetting for fans but at the prime age of 27, Jones is more than just an upgrade for the Eagles. He will give the Eagles defense the comfort and confidence it needs when he is on the field. He’ll instantly take away half of the field during games, something that hasn’t been done for the Eagles since… well… it’s been a long time. Here are several reasons why Byron Jones is a must-have for the Eagles this offseason:
1. Compared to the Eagles’ current number one and two starting cornerbacks, Jones is a better football player by a mile. Here’s how they all looked in pass coverage in 2019:
Jones – 53% completion percentage, 84.7 passer rating, 46 tackles
Darby – 64% completion percentage, 116.8 passer ratings, 37 tackles
Mills – 57% completion percentage, 107.8 passer ratings, 41 tackles
2. Now we know the Eagles corners are infamous for giving up big plays. Jones is the opposite, he actually only allowed 6.8 yards per time he was targeted while the Eagles number one corner, Ronald Darby, allowed 10.5 per target. Significant difference.
3. While many fans will bring up his 0 interceptions in 2019, you shouldn’t overlook a more important stat. Jones has 20 pass breakups in his two years at the corner position.
4. Byron Jones had only one missed tackle in 2019 compared to the 19 missed tackles that the Eagles corners had together.
5. Byron Jones has missed only ONE game In his five-year NFL career!
6. Due to playing safety to begin his NFL career, Jones brings great versatility and physicality to any defense he joins. He’s great in coverage and solid against the run. Jones will primarily be an outside corner but has the ability to be plugged in anywhere on defense and succeed. Something Jim Schwartz loves in his players.
7. Jones has only allowed 5 touchdowns in two years at cornerback and is as consistent as they come. In 2018, Jones only allowed 52% of passes to be completed his way while in 2019 he allowed only 53% to be completed.
Jones will be a huge upgrade in almost every sense of the word at corner, but he’ll come with a heavy price ranging from $15 million to $17 million a year. Fortunately, Howie is looking to invest in the Eagles’ current state and future, so expect the Eagles to be heavy spenders come March 18th.
Would you pull the trigger on a move? Let us know in the comments below!
Mandatory Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images