Cowboys contemplate moving Byron Jones back to cornerback

From ESPN - February 13, 2018

FRISCO, Texas -- On Monday, ESPN Insider Bill Barnwell began a series with five moves each team in the NFC East should make this offseason.

For the Dallas Cowboys, the list touched on a lot of the things that already have been written about: 1. Extend Zack Martin, 2. Restructure Travis Fredericks contract, 3. Ask Dez Bryant to either take a pay cut or be cut, and 4. Place the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence.

The fifth move was to pick up Byron Jones first-year option and pick a place for him to play.

The Cowboys want to talk to Martins agents soon, likely at the NFL scouting combine, to work on a deal that will make him the highest paid guard in NFL history. The Cowboys have no problem with that. The issue will be the structure of the contract. Martin doesnt want to leave. The Cowboys want him to stay. It could happen rather quickly, but likely will take time because of issues other than total dollars and total guarantee.

Restructuring Fredericks contract would open up about $7 million in cap space. Add that to a Martin extension that would lower his current cap figure of $9.3 million and the Cowboys could be in business. Barnwell also correctly says the Cowboys should stay away from reworking Tyron Smiths contract. His injuries the past two years should give them pause before further ballooning the cap figures in the future. The Cowboys should look at reworking Smiths deal only as a matter of last resort.

I made the bold prediction that Bryant would not be with the Cowboys in 2018 last week. To some, it might not be that bold. To others, it might sound crazy. Predictions often are wrong, but the Cowboys (i.e. Stephen Jones) sound ready to move on from Bryant, which would open up at least $8.5 million more in cap room.

If the Cowboys place the franchise tag on Lawrence, that would eat up a good portion of their cap room with an estimated $17 million price tag. That should put more of an impetus on a deal for Martin, restructuring Frederick and asking Bryant to take a pay cut. They will need cap space to improve the team even if they wont break the bank in free agency.

Which brings us to Jones, the Cowboys first-round pick in 2015.

As a rookie, Jones mostly played cornerback, outside and in the slot. He did a solid job on tight ends as well. When the Cowboys took him, they mentioned the possibility of moving him to safety in the future, like what the New England Patriots did with Devin McCourty. By the end of his rookie season, Jones was starting at safety and has spent the past two seasons playing that position.


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