Jonathan Jones had been expected to test the open market this week, but that will no longer be the case. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the corner is re-signing with the Patriots on a two-year contract (Twitter link).
The 29-year-old played out the final season of a three-year extension he signed with the Patriots in 2019. His production over that span, including seven interceptions and usage both in the slot and on the boundary, would have made him a candidate for a notable contract from New England or another team on the open market. Ultimately, it looks like he took a bit of a discount to stick around with the Patriots.
The former UDFA out of Auburn mostly played in the slot during his first six seasons in the NFL, but he was required to take on a larger role in 2022 following the loss of J.C. Jackson in the secondary. Jones ended up having a career season from a statistical standpoint while playing on the outside, finishing with career-highs in interceptions (four) and passes defended (11) while starting a career-high 16 games.
Pro Football Focus also gave Jones some praise for his new role, ranking him 38th among 118 qualifying cornerbacks. When serving as a slot cornerback, Jones had a pair of top-20 finishes, including a fifth-place ranking in 2020.
“He’s tough, well prepared, smart kid,” Belichick said this past season (via ESPN’s Mike Reiss). “His playing strength for his size is good, speed’s very good, instincts, quickness, good tackler. He’s a good player and really good off the field with preparation and communication.”
While the Patriots were able to bring back Jones on an affordable contract, the team wasn’t in dire need of cornerback help. The organization got some solid production from rookies Marcus Jones and Jack Jones in 2022, but with Jonathan Jones back in the fold, the team won’t be as reliant on the upcoming sophomores.
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