The Dallas Cowboys are expected to pick up defensive back Byron Jones’ fifth-year option before the May 3 deadline, according to an NFL Network report.
Jones, 25, is set to make $1.6 million in base salary in 2018, the fourth year of his rookie contract. His fifth-year option would be worth the average of the third through 25th highest salaries at his position in 2019, with the figure guaranteed only for injury. Among safeties, that number is currently estimated to be $6.17 million, but it would be around $9.07 million among cornerbacks.
The 27th overall pick in 2015, Jones played primarily cornerback as a rookie before spending the past two years at safety, but he is expected to move back to corner full time in 2018. It is unclear how Jones’ position would be determined for salary calculations in relation to the fifth-year option.
There is no recent precedent for his situation among defensive players. However, tight end Jimmy Graham lost a grievance to be classified as a wide receiver instead of as a tight end — a difference worth more than $5 million in salary at the time — after the New Orleans Saints gave him the franchise tag in 2014.
Jones has played in all 48 games through three NFL seasons, starting each of the past 42 games (43 starts total) for the Cowboys while collecting two interceptions, 24 passes defensed and 236 tackles.
His playing time dipped slightly in 2017 (86.8 percent of defensive snaps after 93.2 percent in 2016) as the Cowboys rotated in rookie Xavier Woods, who is expected to start full time in 2018 with Jones moving back to cornerback.
–Field Level Media
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