With so much uncertainty surrounding the Dallas Cowboys cornerback room this offseason, folks have entertained the idea of brining back Byron Jones to deploy alongside Trevon Diggs and standout rookie DaRon Bland.
A former first-round pick of the Cowboys in 2015, Jones inked a big-money deal with the Dolphins as a free agent three years ago. While Jones’ tenure in Miami started out promising, it has since taken a nosedive.
Jones didn’t play a single game in 2022 due to lingering effects from Achilles surgery he underwent last March. The procedure was meant to clean up a nagging injury from 2021, and it kept Jones out the entire 2022 campaign.
The Dolphins were likely to make Jones a cap casualty this offseason, but that’s seemingly no longer a possibility after the veteran cornerback hinted at his retirement in a difficult-to-decipher-tweet Saturday.
In the post, Jones shared that he can no longer execute fundamental physical skills that are required to play in the NFL. He also cautioned players to consult external doctors about treatment for injuries, rather than team doctors.
Former Cowboys CB Byron Jones hints playing career is over, unmasks NFL before draft season.
This is gutting for Jones. Fans will remember him testing as one of the best athletes in combine history leading up to the 2015 draft. He set a world record for the long jump and was drafted No. 27 overall by the Cowboys.
After bouncing between safety and corner early in his career, Jones made the Pro Bowl and was a second-team All-Pro in 2018. He morphed into one of the league’s best cover corners, and played out his five years in Dallas before signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal with Miami, including $40 million guaranteed.
Jones played 14 and 16 games, respectively, between the 2020 and ’21 seasons. When he was on the field, though, he was never the same player he was in Dallas. Perhaps that can be attributed to injury accumulation in his career.
Still just 30 years old, Jones issued a stern warning in a follow-up tweet to the incoming draft class, saying “In my opinion, no amount of professional success or financial gain is worth avoidable chronic pain and disabilities.”
Jones was never an injury-prone player with the Cowboys. In fact, he missed just one regular-season game over his five seasons.
Is all of this the result of his 2022 leg surgery? The result of him trying to play through Achilles/ankle injuries in 2021? Is the Dolphins medical staff to blame?
All of that is speculation.
For now, it appears Jones’ recovery, or lack thereof, may end his playing career far sooner than anyone could have imagined.