NFC East Foe Dubbed ‘Perfect Landing Spot’ for Cowboys CB Byron Jones

Byron Jones

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When the Dallas Cowboys mutually agreed to let Byron Jones explore NFL free agency, they might unwittingly deliver him into the hands of an arch-nemesis.

Bleacher Report considers the Philadelphia Eagles the “perfect landing spot” for the former Pro Bowl cornerback, who’s expected to sign a market-resetting contract.

Via columnist Kristopher Knox:

The Cowboys are expected to let Jones hit free agency, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, and the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles should be interested. They ranked 19th in pass defense last season and could potentially lose Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and Ronald Darby from their secondary this offseason.

Joining the reigning division champs would allow Jones to remain in the playoff hunt for the foreseeable future. While the Eagles aren’t expected to enter the market with as much cap space as Dallas—they’re projected to have around $45.6 million—Philadelphia already has its franchise quarterback under contract.

The Eagles should be able to offer Jones a deal that rivals the five-year, $75.25 million contract Xavien Howard signed with the Miami Dolphins last offseason.

Prediction: Jones signs a five-year, $77 million contract with Philadelphia that includes $41 million guaranteed.

To be clear, Jones will have a long line of suitors willing to pony up serious cash for his services. He’s been linked to a number of teams, including the Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, and Denver Broncos, who traded for Jaguars CB A.J. Bouye on Tuesday and may no longer qualify in the Jones sweepstakes.

Philadelphia boasts enough cap room to absorb a history-making deal, and they certainly have a need at the position with CBs Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills primed to test the unrestricted free-agent waters.

The Eagles are permitted to negotiate with Jones on March 16, when the two-day legal tampering period begins. Contracts can be agreed to but not formally signed until March 18, the official start of the new league year.

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Cowboys Reportedly Interested in 4-Time Pro Bowl CB

According to Troy Renck of Denver 7 ABC, the Cowboys have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent Chris Harris Jr., arguably the second-best CB, behind Jones, in this year’s class.

Renck added the Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders, Detroit Lions, and New York Jets as potential suitors, while the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins reports Harris’ reps met with “at least” 24 teams at last week’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

“Dallas has expressed interest,” Watkins confirms.

A four-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro selection, Harris is perenially hailed among the league’s best corners, particularly in the slot, where he’s honed a shutdown reputation. He was a Pro Football Focus darling from 2015-18, regularly earning elite coverage grades.

Harris took a step back in 2019 when Denver asked him to play along the boundary in addition to inside duties. Though, despite surrendering four touchdowns and a 67.1-percent completion rate to opposing quarterbacks, he finished as PFF’s No. 35 CB out of 133 qualifiers.

In Dallas, once Jones defects elsewhere, Harris would step right into the starting lineup opposite Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, assuming the team doesn’t further fortify the position via April’s draft, where they hold the No. 17 overall choice.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL