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NFL free agency 2023: Patriots earn B+ for re-signing cornerback Jonathan Jones, says ESPN

Jones is returning on a new two-year deal.

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

The New England Patriots re-signed Jonathan Jones early into free agency week, keeping their starting cornerback on a two-year, $19 million contract. The deal is a good one for the team, and the analysts agree: ESPN gave it a B+.

The reasoning behind that grade was explained as follows:

Patriots to re-sign CB Jonathan Jones

The deal: Two years, $19 million ($13 million guaranteed)

Grade: B+

Jones was the corner I labeled “overrated” heading into free agency, because I thought he was going to be overpaid off a breakout season. At this price, though, it’s totally reasonable for New England to bring him back.

Jones’ 1.1 yards per coverage snap allowed, per NFL Next Gen Stats, was average for an outside corner and also a career best outside of a tiny sample in 2016. His production numbers were better, as he allowed minus-16 expected points added to opposing offenses, driven by four interceptions.

Cornerback is a valuable position, so this is more than a reasonable price to pay Jones. Maybe last season signaled more of what is to come. Even if not, though, he’ll still be a useful starter. — Walder

A former rookie free agent, Jones started his career in the slot before moving to the outside in 2022. Which position he will fill next season remains to be seen, with him being capable of moving all over the defensive secondary — possibly even into the safety spot previously occupied by since-retired Devin McCourty.