What’s subsequent for the Patriots’ secondary in the event that they transfer on from Jack Jones?


If the Patriots minimize Jack Jones, they may look internally for assist on the cornerback place.

After he couldn't quite make the play on a second quarter possible interception, Patriots DB Jack Jones reacted. The New England Patriots hosted the Buffalo Bills for a Thursday Night NFL football game at Gillette Stadium.
Jack Jones’ days in New England could possibly be numbered. (Jim Davis/Globe Workers)

Jack Jones’ time in Foxboro may be coming to an finish.

The 25-year-old cornerback is due again in a Boston courthouse in August for a possible trigger listening to following his arrest on gun expenses final Friday. 

It stays to be seen if Jones will nonetheless be on the Patriots’ roster by the point he’s scheduled to return to courtroom later this summer time.

If the Patriots do decide to chop ties with Jones in some unspecified time in the future this offseason, it marks a serious blow to what was wanting like a stout defensive backfield for New England in 2023.

For many of New England’s OTA (organized group exercise) periods and minicamp, Jones was a standout performer as one of many Patriots’ two beginning boundary corners subsequent to rookie Christian Gonzalez.

So if Jones isn’t a part of the equation when the Patriots’ open camp in late July, how can they reshuffle their secondary?

Search for outdoors assist

This may be essentially the most unlikely situation, contemplating that the Patriots nonetheless have loads of inner candidates in place to fit in for Jones at outdoors nook.

Marcus Peters is arguably the highest nook out there on the open market, with the four-time All-Professional nonetheless able to enjoying on the surface for a group prepared to pay up.

Nonetheless, Peters has been hampered by accidents over the previous few years, together with an ACL harm that ended his whole 2021 marketing campaign with Baltimore. A report final week from The Athletic famous that the Raiders are “probably” to signal Peters earlier than camp opens in July.

Ronald Darby is one other potential choice, however he’s additionally coming off of an ACL harm that minimize his 2022 season quick with the Broncos. Denver opted to launch Darby in March somewhat than let him play out the ultimate 12 months of his three-year contract.

New England may additionally have a look at a journeyman like Eli Apple, however the 27-year-old nook struggled to make a lot of an impression with the Bengals in 2022 after a stable first 12 months in Cincinnati.

The Patriots are in a robust place to shore up any vacancies on their roster by means of free-agent signings. In accordance with OverTheCap.com, New England nonetheless has $14.9 million in out there cap area.

However whether or not it’s saving that cash for DeAndre Hopkins or utilizing it elsewhere, the Patriots shouldn’t be pursuing the marketplace for corners at or close to 30 years outdated.

Jonathan Jones strikes again to the surface

After six seasons as a high slot nook on New England’s protection, Jonathan Jones was bumped to the surface in 2022 to account for the departures of each Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson.

It was a tricky ask for the 5-foot-10 Jonathan Jones to line up alongside the sidelines in opposition to a few of the high wideouts within the league. However one of many few veteran leaders on an evolving Patriots secondary held his personal in his augmented position final season. 

Throughout his 16 video games in 2022, Jonathan Jones allowed 46 catches on 86 targets whereas recording 4 interceptions and 5 cross breakups.

The sturdy minicamp performances from each Gonzalez and Jack Jones supplied up a tantalizing situation the place Jonathan Jones shifted again into his “pure” place on the slot in 2023.

However given Jack Jones’ murky future in New England, the Patriots may simply as simply transfer again Jonathan Jones to the position he impressed in throughout the 2022 season, whereas giving the slot nook spot to second-year participant Marcus Jones.

If Jonathan Jones is handed an out of doors nook position as soon as once more, he a minimum of has extra help in 2023 within the type of Gonzalez.

Nonetheless, Jonathan Jones is a confirmed asset that has served as a distinction maker wherever New England slots him on protection.

Jalen Mills strikes again to nook

With Devin McCourty hanging up his cleats throughout the offseason, Mills was anticipated to be one in all many candidates set to earn reps at security in 2023. 

But when New England does shake up its secondary unit, Mills can simply transfer again to nook, the place he spent his first two seasons with the Patriots.

Placing Mills on the boundary subsequent to Gonzalez may as soon as once more open the door for Jonathan Jones to revert again to fit nook. A security throughout a few of his time with the Eagles, Mills generally is a versatile device in a New England protection anchored by a variety of position-less “unicorns.”  

There’s no query that the Patriots are at their finest if Jack Jones and Gonzalez are making performs on the surface, given each their big-play skill and the ensuing domino impact of excellent gamers getting pushed into roles that additional match their skillset (Jonathan Jones on the slot, for instance).

But when the Patriots assume that Jack Jones’ authorized points aren’t definitely worth the bother, New England nonetheless has choices it might flip to in its secondary.