Cowboys 2020 changes: Byron Jones explains split from Dallas, why he chose Dolphins

Byron Jones is no longer a member of the Dallas Cowboys organization, but it's not because of the money. The team entered the offseason with nearly $80 million in available cap space, and was still flush with cash after hitting Dak Prescott with a franchise tag that ate up nearly $30 million in space and awarding Amari Cooper a five-year, $100 million deal. Original reporting from CBS Sports noted weeks ahead of free agency the Cowboys simply didn't want to pay Jones a market-setting deal, with sources noting the max offer in Dallas would cap at $13 million per season.

The All-Pro cornerback ended up securing a lot more than that, signing on with the Miami Dolphins on a five-year, $82.5 million deal with $40 million guaranteed to be paid in the first two seasons. Jones confirmed my reports in his first conference call as a resident of South Florida, noting it wasn't the inability to afford him that caused the Cowboys to back off, but rather their belief in others they employ at the position and also having an eye on the 2020 NFL Draft.

"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. 

"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."

The former first-round pick got off to a slow start career-wise, thanks to the Cowboys failing to fully commit him to cornerback until his fourth season. He'd garner both Second-Team All Pro and Pro Bowl that year -- a first in both categories -- hinting at what he might've had already accomplished had that trigger been pulled sooner. Having now played out the fifth-year option on his contract, his half-decade with the Cowboys is now over, and the combine record-setting 27-year-old is excited about what the Dolphins are piecing together under head coach Brian Flores. 

"What really brought to me Miami was joining a young team and being a catalyst for cultural change," he said, via NFL.com. "I wanted to be a part of the building of something special."

Jones joins another Pro Bowl corner in Xavien Howard, making for a defensive backfield that could be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. 

"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."

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