FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots and cornerback Jonathan Jones have agreed on a two-year deal for him to return to the team, according to a source.
Jones, who turns 30 in September, filled the unexpected role of No. 1 cornerback for the Patriots in 2022. He started 16 games, missing one, and finished tied for the team high with four interceptions.
The Patriots had a significant void to fill after JC Jackson had signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as a free agent last offseason, and they turned to Jones, whose primary role in his first six NFL seasons had been in the slot.
One of his notable highlights came in a Nov. 6 win over the Indianapolis Colts when he returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown and also blocked a punt — becoming just the fifth player since 2000 to have a pick-six and blocked punt in the same game.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Jones, who has spent his entire career with the Patriots, entered the NFL in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn. A two-time Super Bowl champion, he has played in 101 career regular-season games (43 starts), totaling 299 tackles and 11 interceptions. He’s also played in eight career playoff games.
During the 2022 season, Patriots coach Bill Belichick noted how Jones’ initial impact came on various special teams units, and he eventually worked his way into multiple roles on defense, which included safety at times.
“He’s tough, well prepared, smart kid,” Belichick said at the time. “His playing strength for his size is good, speed’s very good, instincts, quickness, good tackler. He’s a good player and really good off the field with preparation and communication.”
With longtime standout safety Devin McCourty retiring on Friday, the return of Jones provides the Patriots’ defensive backs a level of stability. Jones told ESPN.com last week that his preference was to remain in New England.
NFL Network first reported the agreement.