Detroit Lions: Ten Free Agents to target this offseason

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Detroit Lions
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CB Byron Jones

Byron Jones is a converted safety who has transcended playing as a shutdown corner with the Dallas Cowboys.  The Cowboys have enough roster question marks to leave owner Jerry Jones with plenty of sleepless nights.

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The Dallas Cowboys have the highest-paid offensive line in the NFL.  They are a phenomenal group, but there is only so much money to go around.  It’s hard to have ‘everything’ in a salary cap driven league, so something has to give, I expect that to be Byron Jones.

The Cowboys are hoping to agree on a long-term deal with their starting quarterback Dak Prescott but the negotiating waters have been murky, to say the least.  Prescott is likely going to earn himself somewhere in the neighborhood of $33-35-million per season.

Jerry still has to find a way to re-sign star wideout Amari Cooper leaving Jones to search for employment elsewhere.

The Detroit Lions have shown plenty of interest in corner Chris Harris from the Denver Broncos.  He’s 31 years old, and Jones is 27.  Both players are expected to earn multi-year deals on the open market for nearly the same amount of annual money.

Although Harris has enjoyed a tremendous career in Denver, his age does scare me.  How long will he be able to keep playing at this level?  Are the Lions going to sign him and immediately see a drop off in production?  All questions that are cause for concern.

Last season Jones was only targeted 53 times, allowing just 30 completions totaling a career-best 331 yards.  Jones allowed a completion percentage of 56.6, which was the second-best mark of his career to 2018 when he allowed 53.6% of his targets to be reeled in for a catch.  That’s back to back stellar years of coverage.

Jones is a man to man corner, just what Matt Patricia’s defense asks of their outside corners.  He’s a player that doesn’t need any safety help, and that’s a massive bonus in the NFL.  Having a lock-down corner is a luxury, Detroit has Darius Slay, Byron Jones is an upgrade.  That isn’t a knock on Slay, that’s a compliment to Jones.

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If Darius Slay’s days are over in Detroit, the best solution would be bringing in Jones.  Slay, with one year left on his current deal, expects a contract extension before he steps foot again on the football field.  He’s hoping to earn between $15-17 million per season.  If that’s the case, Jones will expect somewhere between $18-20 million per season.  Probably too costly for the Lions, but one can dream.