While a position change (especially one within the secondary) may not seem all that critical, a move to cornerback could prove financially beneficial for Jones over the long-term. Dallas has until May to exercise or decline its 2019 fifth-year option for Jones, and that figure will be decided by what position the former first-round pick plays during the upcoming season.
If the Cowboys were to use the franchise tag on Jones at some point, his position would again come into play. For example, the franchise tag is for cornerbacks in 2018 is expected to be worth $14.877MM, while the same tender for safeties will be valued at roughly $11.081MM. Those numbers, in turn, would be used as the basis for extension negotiations, and Jones would want talks to begin at the highest possible figure.
Of course, Jones’ fit within Dallas’ defense is also a consideration when discussing a possible position change. By the end of the 2017 campaign, the Cowboys were using three rookies — Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Xavier Woods — as starters, while the club will also return Anthony Brown and veteran Orlando Scandrick next season. Scandrick, however, could be released or traded, meaning Dallas’ secondary may not be as deep as it appears.
Jones, the 27th overall selection in the 2015 draft, has appeared in all 48 games (43 starts) since entering the NFL. He played cornerback at UConn and during the early portion of his rookie season, but has since settled in at safety. As Archer details, Jones was forced to play near the line of scrimmage in 2017 (as opposed to the center field role he handled earlier in his career), and the role change could have led to his decrease in production.
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