It becomes clearer with each passing day just how much more valued Byron Jones is on the open market than inside the confines of his own team. The Dallas Cowboys are on both Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, or at least one of them by the NFL tag deadline of March 12, but their red-hot passion to close a deal goes ice-cold when it comes to Jones -- who they'll allow to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason. Jones will have no shortage of suitors, with several clubs having already been identified as those waiting to call when legal tampering ensues on March 16.
And now the New York Jets would like to RSVP for Jones' free agency party, per Rich Camini of ESPN, reportedly interested in the All-Pro cornerback and what he might bring to the team.
As with any other team involved in the race for Jones, the Jets would have to be prepared to set the market to land him, and that could mean paying him upwards of $17 million per year or more in order to beat out other cornerback-needy contestants like the Philadelphia Eagles, Las Vegas Raiders and even their football roomies, the New York Giants. As a contingency, they're also reportedly interested in James Bradberry, a former second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers who had a career-best 2019 season that included three interceptions along with 12 pass deflections.
It'll be interesting to see just how aggressive the Jets would be for either Jones or Bradberry, because general manager Joe Douglas wasn't in the building when Trumaine Johnson and Darrelle Revis set the market.
While Jones' resume doesn't boast the interception tally of Bradberry, he remains one of the most respected shutdown corners in the entire NFL -- hence his asking price being too rich for the Cowboys frugal blood. Yes, the Cowboys have more than enough cash on hand to pay their top three free agents -- namely Prescott, Cooper and Jones -- and then some, but instead are opting to not set the market for Jones and lean on their plan to replace him in the 2020 NFL Draft.
For a team like the Jets, however, who have only two winning seasons in the last 10 tries and none since 2015, it's about winning right now more than it's ever been. Adding Jones (or Bradberry) and pairing them with Jamal Adams would go a long way to helping a literally average Jets secondary -- ranked 16th in passing yards allowed per game (236.2) and t-13th in passing touchdowns allowed (25) -- reach a new height in 2020.
That would be their hope, anyway.