Just moments after James Bradberry agreed to sign with the Giants, another top cornerback has been taken off the market. Byron Jones has inked a deal with the Dolphins, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). It’s a five-year, $82.5 million deal, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The deal includes $57MM guaranteed and $40MM through the first two seasons.
The contract will make Jones the highest-paid player at his position, with the deal paying him $16.5MM annually. We heard last week that the market for the cornerback was expected to “start” at $16-17MM per year. Jones new teammate, Xavien Howard, previously led all cornerbacks with a $15.05MM annual salary.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson tweets that the Dolphins were willing to give Jones more guaranteed money than rival suitors, while Rapoport notes that the Raiders made a competitive offer to the defensive back (via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). Further, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets that both Miami and Vegas offered “huge money in tax-free states,” but Miami’s structure of up-front money appealed to Jones.
A number of teams, including the Raiders, Broncos, Lions, Eagles, Giants, and Jets, had been connected to Jones at some point during the offseason. The Cowboys had expressed some optimism in retaining the Pro Bowler. However, the Cowboys had some bigger fish to fry with both Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, and it’s uncertain if they could afford Jones’ new pact, anyway.
Jones, 27, played safety during his first three years in Dallas but switched to corner in 2018, promptly earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. In 2019, Jones started 14 games for the Cowboys, and ranked 14th in both Pro Football Focus‘ CB grades and Football Outsiders‘ success rate metric.