2. Jonathan Jones
Patriots CB Jonathan Jones hasn’t lived up to expectations this season.
As noted earlier, the Patriots will pretty much be in a polar opposite position compared to last offseason in terms of financial flexibility. In fact, according to Spotrac, they are projected to have the fourth-most cap space in the NFL with a whopping $69.27 million, so you can expect them to be major players in the free agency sweepstakes.
However, that doesn’t mean cutthroat GM Bill Belichick won’t look to shed some salary if the opportunity presents itself. That means players who are pocketing more than their overall worth will face the possibility of being jettisoned, and, in our eyes, cornerback Jonathan Jones falls under that description.
As things stand, Jones will account for the sixth-highest cap hit ($7.1 million) on the Patriots for players signed through next season. That’s simply inexplicable for a player who is arguably third or fourth on the depth chart in terms of usage and effectiveness. For the season, quarterbacks are completing 67.2% of their passes when targeting him. They also flaunt an elite 94.1 passer rating.
As a result, Jones has received a 63.2 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus, which is well below the standards for a cornerback who’s playing 80% of the defensive snaps — let alone a CB in a Belichick defense. The Patriots can save approximately $3 million by cutting the Auburn product and we wouldn’t be surprised if that happens once we get more clarity on the futures of Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson.