Did a Cowboys Executive Just Take a Shot at Free Agent CB Byron Jones?

One of the biggest names for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason is Byron Jones. The team’s top cornerback is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2020, and yesterday one of Dallas’ top front office men took what could be seen as a critical shot at Jones’ value to the Cowboys.

Will McClay is officially titled as the Vice President of Player Personnel. But from the perspective of many, he is the unofficial general manager of the Dallas Cowboys in tandem with Stephen Jones. So when McClay has something to say about a player, it’s definitely newsworthy.

Here is what McClay said about Byron Jones:

Interpretation can be dangerous, but that sure sounds like an attempt to downplay Byron’s value to the Cowboys and where he stands among NFL corners.

Jones made his first and only Pro Bowl in 2018 after converting from safety to cornerback. The former 2015 first-round pick entered the NFL in a dual role and then played safety full time in 2016 and 2017.

Byron played last year under the 5th-year option from his rookie contract. Now the Cowboys will likely either have to sign him to a long-term deal or use either the franchise or transition tag to keep him.

Maybe I’m reading too much into what Will McClay said, but terms like “starting caliber” and “really good” aren’t the most glowing language about a player. There certainly wasn’t any firm commitment in that statement about keeping Byron Jones with the Cowboys, but rather a hedging comment that they are still deciding if he’s a good fit.

Of course, this may just be a way of negotiating through the media. It happens all the time in sports.

McClay and the Cowboys may have every intention of keeping Byron Jones and are just playing the game right now. But if there’s any face value to those comments, then perhaps it’s an indication that Jones’ tenure in Dallas is about to end.