After not being franchised tagged by the New England Patriots, Jonathan Jones will hit free agency, but the cornerback is hoping to stay with the organization.
Jones sat down for a 1-on-1 interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry and reiterated that he wanted to stay with the Patriots.
“That’s always the goal,” he said. “I think for a guy to be in a place for his entire career, that’s abnormal. So that’s kind of always a goal for players. And I enjoy it. I’ve been here most of my adult life. It’s consistency here for me. And I love New England. The fans, the people, you know how crazy they are about the sports here. It’s definitely a second home for me.”
The two-time Super Bowl champion has played in 101 games for the Patriots and has racked up 330 tackles, 11 interceptions, and eight forced fumbles per Pro Football Reference. Jones has spent his entire seven-year career with New England.
Jonathan Jones has Become a Leader in the New England Patriots Locker Room
As the 29-year-old has grown and spent more time in New England, he has become a larger presence in the locker room. Jones credits Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty for helping him become more of a leader.
“I think I’ve kind of grown into that role. A lot of the older guys, Devin (McCourty) and Slate (Matthew Slater), have always pushed me into that way of being more vocal,” Jones said. “I was kind of more of a guy who led by example, tried to do things the right way. But those guys have kind of pushed me into being more of a vocal leader for the team and different things like that.”
If the Patriots do fail to re-sign Jones, they wouldn’t just be losing their top cornerback, they would also be losing a key leader in the locker room.
A ‘Dream’ Signing for the New England Patriots?
While it is unknown if Jones will return to New England, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine is looking at a possible “dream” signing for the Patriots this offseason.
“The Patriots have some soul-searching to do on the offense this offseason,” Ballentine wrote. “Whether Mac Jones is the quarterback of the future or not, they have to improve after finishing 24th in offensive efficiency in 2022. Surrounding their quarterback with better weapons would be a start, but this class doesn’t offer a lot of help in that area. Instead, they should turn to free agency to help with the offensive line.
“Both tackle spots were a problem last season,” Ballentine added. “According to PFF, Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown combined to give up 12 sacks and draw 22 penalties at right and left tackle, respectively. Orlando Brown Jr. would be nice, but they might not be able to outbid the Chicago Bears. Plugging in Mike McGlinchey at right tackle would go a long way toward solving the unit’s problems, though. McGlinchey is ranked second in PFF’s free-agent offensive tackle rankings. Their analysts note that his run-blocking grade is in the top 10 of all tackles since he entered the league.”
After a disappointing 2022 season, improving the offensive line could be just what Mac Jones needs to return to form in 2023.