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The Good News Begins in NE as the Pats Re-Sign Jonathan Jones

Andy Clayton-King. Shutterstock Images.

This is that time of year when everyone in every NFL market braces themselves to lose things that are precious to them. It's pro football's version of The Purge. Or a ride on a subway in the 2020s. For every franchise, but particularly among those who historically have refused to fall in love with their own players or get into bidding wars. And none fits that description like New England, where agents have quoted Bill Belichick as basically saying, "Look, if you're guy wants to win, he'll sign here. If not, I'll find somebody else. Causing massive losses that have become part of the fabric of life around here in mid-March. Like freezing rain, salt all over the roads, and getting your pocket picked while riding the T on St. Patrick's Day. 

This year though has been shaping up to be less painful than most. Jakobi Meyers is obviously the biggest potential loss. But right behind him is Jonathan Jones, who has emerged as their best, most reliable cornerback after last year's painful loss, JC Jackson. The good news though, is that we can check that item off the front office's offseason punchlist:

And make no mistake, keeping Jones for two more seasons is no small development. Signed by the Pats as a UDFA in 2016, he originally developed as a slot corner. For instance, in 2021 he took 144 of his 292 snaps on the inside. Then last year, transitioned into a wide corner, with fully 778 of his 1030 total snaps on the boundary. Not to slot shame anyone (credit to the writers of The League for that one), but in a division that features wideouts who line up primarily outside the numbers like Gabriel Davis, Jaylen Waddle and Garrett Wilson, having a corner you trust to line up across them in man is mission critical. 

Another key point is that the Patriots were about to be down to their final two cornerbacks named Jones if had they lost him. Which, OK, is not key. But given Jack Jones and Marcus Jones showed a lot of promise, played more as the season went on, and could potentially develop into the foundation of the secondary for the next decade or so, having Jonathan's veteran presence is huge. I've said before that Devin McCourty had the best rookie season of any cornerback I've ever seen this franchise have (and yes, that includes Mike Haynes). But in 2011, McCourty got off to a horrific start against some big bodied receivers like Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson and took a huge step backwards. Literally, as he was eventually moved to safety. Not having to rely entirely on Marcus and Jack, keeping Jonathan in the mix (and with Myles Bryant as the primary slot guy) might be key to keeping this at Top 10 defense going forward. If not Top 5. 

I have to think at that number, Jonathan Jones took a discount, rather than hit the market and get all he can. Which, along with the Jonnu Smith trade, 

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… brings the team into the legal tampering period with even more latitude to add talent and depth to a roster in need of it than they had. These two moves are the first of what will hopefully be another great offseason. Let's keep this party going.