Can the Cowboys afford Chris Jones?
Cowboys fans see a large number of cap space the team can spend, which is over $80 million in cap space, but that money is essentially already spent so to speak. So, can the Boys afford Jones? That’s a difficult question, in short, no because there would have to be a lot of moving parts to acquire his services. But it is possible.
The team’s number one priority is quarterback Dak Prescott. Following Prescott, you have wide receiver Amari Cooper and cornerback Byron Jones. These three free agents alone would demand top five money at their respective positions if the Cowboys decide to retain all of them.
If you decide to keep Prescott, Cooper, and Jones then you have to make key decisions on smaller role players such as defensive end Robert Quinn, tight end Blake Jarwin, wide receiver Randall Cobb, safety Jeff Heath, defensive tackles Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins and that list goes on, you get the big picture here.
However, this isn’t me saying the Cowboys have ruled out potentially signing a big free agent like Jones. Some are on the spectrum off letting Cooper walk and signing a top tier free agent like Jones or letting Byron Jones walk and signing Chris Jones.
Possibilities are endless, but the Cowboys must do what is best for the team. Signing a big money free agent limits the role players you can now sign for depth purposes and special teams.
There has always been a great debate if teams should build their defense front to back or back to front? Is it a better option to have an elite secondary or an elite defensive front? My football sense has always told me building a defense from front to back is generally a more successful approach.
I’m sure there are a few exceptions to the rule but a great defensive front could make just about any NFL secondary look good, but a great defensive secondary can rarely make a defensive front look good.
In my opinion, if you don’t apply pressure to the opposing quarterback it doesn’t matter who is in the secondary because in today’s NFL if a quarterback is given time to throw he’s going to eventually find an open receiver more often than not.
Take a look at any of the all-time great defenses and a common denominator would be an elite pass rush and it’s becoming even more of an importance in today’s pass happy league. You could convince me to sign a player like Chris Jones over Byron Jones. However, you would have to cut your losses with a few more players potentially, but not much.
Jones would probably demand near $18 million a year, which would put him ahead of Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox at $17 million per year. Jones would rank as the second highest-paid defensive tackle in the league right behind Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and his $22 million per year.
This is quite a larger number for a defensive tackle but if you think he is in the same class as Cox, not necessarily Donald then it is worth the money. A star defensive tackle can cause havoc upfront and be disruptive on any play. It instantly elevates the play of the secondary and linebackers. The Cowboys have been lacking this type of play-maker upfront for a very long time.