The Patriots were making moves early on Monday morning, with the announcement of Jonnu Smith’s trade to the Falcons first followed by the re-signing of Jonathan Jones to a two-year contract.
As one of the more vital pieces of the Patriots’ defense over the last few years, there was hope that Jones would remain in New England, and both parties made it clear they wanted to see that happen.
The deal indicates that Jones took a home team discount, considering what his market was rumored to be had he entered free agency and explored his options, while also showing Bill Belichick is aware of the significant need to maintain critical players in the secondary.
After J.C. Jackson left the team after the 2021 season to sign with the Chargers, and Stephon Gilmore was traded to the Panthers before the trade deadline, Jones was set to become the Patriots’ CB1. However, because he had primarily played in the slot, it was unclear if he would be successful when the team moved him to the outside.
But his performance throughout the 2022 season proved he was the definition of versatile, as he had one of the best seasons of his career despite overtaking the challenges of moving his position on the field.
Since signing with the team in 2016, Jones has become a significant piece of the defense overall, and his ever-evolving and improving performance has earned him the new contract.
Through those seven seasons, he’s accomplished quite a resume, totaling 330 combined tackles, four tackles for a loss, 11 interceptions returned for 129 yards and a touchdown, 44 passes defended, eight forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 2.5 sacks.
Now that the Patriots have locked down one of the most important free agents of this offseason, it will be interesting to see how they go about the draft, which has had many experts projecting they take a cornerback high.