Former AFC foe “a good fit” for a Patriots top free agent

Patriots defensive back #31 Jonathan Jones celebrates a 2nd quarter interception.04 Patriots 092522 Bb
Patriots defensive back #31 Jonathan Jones celebrates a 2nd quarter interception.04 Patriots 092522 Bb /

With free agency beginning in just a few weeks, the conversation during the offseason has turned into what players would best fit for a new team. The Patriots have the money to be big spenders once again if they so choose, but they also have some top talent hitting the market that would be ideal to remain in New England.

But Bill Belichick is known for letting productive players walk and sign elsewhere throughout the years, and that is generally expected during free agency season. So although the hope from fans, and even the player himself, that Jonathan Jones will re-sign with the Patriots, there’s a big chance we’ll see the cornerback suit up with a new team in 2023.

As one of the better performers at the position to hit free agency this year, several teams are bound to be interested in stealing Jones away from the Patriots, especially after his top-notch 2022 season. And according to Pro Football Focus, the team best fit for Jones’ skillset would be longtime, but primarily former foe, the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens have 22 players set for free agency this year, four of which are cornerbacks. The most noteworthy of the group is 30-year-old Marcus Peters, who was traded to the team from the Rams in 2019.

During his tenure in Baltimore, Peters, and fellow cornerback Marlon Humphrey excelled as a duo in the secondary which will be difficult for John Harbaugh to replace if Peters doesn’t re-sign. But if they are considering adding some new blood to the roster, Brad Spielberger of PFF suggests signing Jones would be even better than a returning Peters because of the versatility he brings on the field.

"“Jones’ versatility as a cornerback who can play outside — as evidenced by a strong 2022 season — and in the slot makes him a good fit for a creative Ravens defense that does a lot of mixing and matching on the backend. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Kyle Hamilton will also rotate into the slot based on matchups, and Jones could allow them to continue to move defensive backs all over the formation.”"

As the Ravens transition into a new defensive identity with the departure of Don ‘Wink’ Martindale and the naming of Mike Macdonald as the new defensive coordinator in 2022, Jones is said to fit the direction the new coach is going in. His addition would make their defensive backfield more dynamic while allowing them to mix up coverages because of Jones’s experience lining up all over the secondary.

The pairing of Humphrey and Jones may be too good for the Ravens to pass up, considering how well they both performed last season. Whether or not they’ll get the chance to sign him will be determined next month.