Cowboys Jerry Jones laughs as the Dolphins pay the price

Byron Jones, Miami Dolphins (Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Byron Jones, Miami Dolphins (Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

It was tough, but letting Byron Jones walk was the right decision

The group of defensive backs on the Dallas Cowboys roster has been mediocre for quite some time. Owner Jerry Jones selected many cornerbacks over the years, but none played as well as the athletic freak from Connecticut.

With the 27th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Cowboys selected Byron Jones. His contract expired this past offseason, and Jerry opted to let his top cornerback walk away in free agency. The result was a jaw-dropping five-year deal paying him an average of $16.5 million per season.

One year later, was letting Byron walk the right decision?

It is well-noted around the NFL just how bad Dallas’ defense was last season. While the group ranked 23rd for overall yards against, their passing defense was above-average at 11th place. The run defense is what dragged the team through the dirt.

Then-number one corner, Chidobe Awuzie, was held to only eight games due to injuries. That opened up the way for 2020 second-rounder Trevon Diggs and nickel corner Jourdan Lewis to step up.

Both corners eclipsed 50 tackles and sacked the quarterback at least 1.0 times. While Lewis never grabbed an interception, he did defend two passes. Diggs more than made up for it with 14 batted passes and three interceptions.

Their stats tell the tale of their respective playing styles. Lewis’s conservative tackle-first mentality limited the big plays he has up, represented by a lowly 8.7 yards per completion. That’s also why he only got his hands on the ball twice while giving up a higher passer rating and completion percentage.

Diggs got his hands on the ball an average of 1.21 times per game. That’s while giving up 14.5 yards per reception. What makes up for it is the 54.8 percent completion percentage and his plays on the ball.

Byron Jones in the 305

Last season with the Dolphins, Jones did not play that well. He only made six plays on the ball, gave up 17.6 yards per completion and a 60.3 percent completion percentage.

Sure, it was only one season in Miami. Considering he was the main guy in Dallas and excelled, the dropped off when playing opposite Xavien Howard is concerning.

At this year’s draft, the Dallas Cowboys drafted two corners in the first three rounds. They are Kentucky’s Kelvin Joseph and Oregon State’s Nahshon Wright. Also, add in the return of Lewis, Diggs, and veteran Anthony Brown.

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Many people question Jerry’s decisions, but one year later, this one panned out. If Byron continues to play as he did last season, the Dolphins will suffer for the next four years as Jones’ bank account grows bigger. Jerry didn’t get enough credit. I think it’s about time he gets it.