1. Byron Jones – Cornerback
NY Giants fans would love the opportunity to have their team get exponentially better while watching a hated rival’s team get worse in the process. Signing Byron Jones would allow New York to do just that.
Jones has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league since the Dallas Cowboys drafted him with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Connecticut. In 31 career games with the Cowboys, Jones has given up just five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers.
Jones is the epitome of a lockdown cornerback in the NFL and would represent a significant upgrade to a young Giants cornerback corps. With Janoris Jenkins cut in week 15 last season for comments he made on social media, the Giants need a cornerback with experience.
Currently, Deandre Baker, Sam Beal, Corey Ballentine, and Grant Haley represent the only cornerbacks on the Giants roster. Baker, Beal, and Ballentine are fresh off their rookie seasons, while Haley is coming off his sophomore campaign.
The only cornerback in the draft who is likely to rival the skills of Jones is Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State University. However, the Giants would need to select him with the fourth overall pick if he is even available when it is time for them to pick.
By signing Jones, the NY Giants can shore up a massive hole at cornerback and make it less of a priority in the draft. In addition to being a great corner, Jones possesses the size and ability to play a hybrid cornerback/safety role with the Giants, something he did in Dallas with regularity.
By providing new Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham such versatility to pair with an already versatile safety duo of Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love, New York would allow Graham to expand the playbook a bit more to utilize the versatility of his defense.
With Baker showing exponential improvement towards the end of the season, Love transitioning well from cornerback to safety, the ability of Peppers to be a playmaker all over the field, the addition of Jones as a lockdown number one corner opposite Baker and solid depth at cornerback with Beal, Ballentine, and Haley, the Giants secondary suddenly looks like more of an asset than a liability.
The Cowboys recently used up a lot of their available cap space to sign La’el Collins, Jaylon Smith, Ezekiel Elliot, and DeMarcus Lawrence to contract extensions in the past year. Also, Dallas still needs to resign both Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper this offseason.
As a result, Jones is unlikely to be re-signed by Dallas this offseason, leaving the Giants in an excellent position to make their roster exponentially better, while weakening that of their division rivals.
Proposed contract: 5-years $80 million ($16M/year)