The Dallas Cowboys offseason is starting sooner than the team hoped after a disappointing performance against the San Francisco 49ers. The pressure is on Dak Prescott to improve for 2023, but the quarterback would greatly benefit from a more talented roster. According to Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, the Cowboys could explore a reunion with former secondary member Byron Jones who left Dallas for Miami in 2020.
Jones still has two seasons remaining on his massive five-year, $82 million contract and is slated to have a $13.5 million salary in 2023. Knox believes the Cowboys could take advantage of salary cap rules to make a trade for Jones on a more affordable deal.
“Dallas should also consider adding a cornerback to replace [Anthony] Brown if he departs,” Knox wrote on January 22, 2023. “Expect second- or third-tier free agents like Troy Hill and Greedy Williams to be the focus there—though a trade could enter the equation.
“One player to keep an eye on is former Cowboys and current Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones. Jones didn’t play in 2022 following Achilles surgery, but he was a Pro Bowler for Dallas back in 2018. If the Cowboys were to acquire Jones, his 2023 cap hit of only $4 million—after dead-money payouts—would be quite reasonable.”
Jones Has Disappointed Since Signing an $82 Million Contract With the Dolphins
The Cowboys may have found their cornerback duo of the future with Trevon Diggs and DaRond Bland, but adding Jones would give the Cowboys some flexibility in the secondary with the former Pro Bowler’s ability to play both corner and safety. Jones missed all of the 2022 season with an Achilles injury and had an underwhelming 2021 earning a 65 grade from Pro Football Focus.
The veteran also notched an underwhelming 63.6 score from PFF in 2020. Jones has not lived up to his sizable contract since arriving in Miami, and is a potential cut candidate for the Dolphins.
The veteran already restructured his deal to allow Miami to afford acquiring Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins could release Jones this offseason but would take a $14.8 million dead cap hit.
Jones had his best season in Dallas notching 67 tackles and 14 pass deflections during his Pro Bowl campaign in 2018. The former Dallas player could benefit from a reunion if Jones is willing to once again restructure his deal.
Smith & Elliott Are Among the Cowboys Stars Who Could Be Cap Casualties
Dallas heads into a pivotal offseason with decisions on the future of several key players. On one hand, the Cowboys won a playoff game, something the team failed to do under head coach Mike McCarthy in 2021. Yet, the Cowboys were exposed against the 49ers as a team far away from being a Super Bowl contender.
Dallas is projected to have just $5.8 million of cap space this offseason, per Spotrac, with a laundry list of their own free agents. Some of the Cowboys key free agents include Tony Pollard, Dalton Schultz, Leighton Vander Esch, Cooper Rush, Connor McGovern and Terence Steele.
There are also former Pro Bowlers like Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott who could become cap casualties given their sizable contracts compared to production. The clearest pathway for the Cowboys to improve their roster continues to be the draft, but Dallas would be wise to also add veteran talent via both trades and free agency heading into next season.