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Patriots re-sign cornerback Jonathan Jones, their most important free agent, to a two-year deal

Jonathan Jones has played all seven of his seasons in New England.Greg M. Cooper/Associated Press

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The Patriots locked up their most important in-house defensive free agent on Monday, securing a two-year deal with cornerback Jonathan Jones, a league source confirmed.

Jones, long one of the Patriots top defenders and a core special teamer, agreed to a deal that includes $13.5 million guaranteed, including a $7.5 million signing bonus. The pact can potentially be worth $19 million.

Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn in 2016, Jones has played all seven of his NFL seasons in New England and is coming off his best campaign. Though he made his bones as a slot corner, he shifted to boundary corner in 2022 when he started 16 games and collected 4 interceptions — both career highs.


Jones has also played safety, most notably during portions of the Super Bowl LIII victory when the Patriots held the Rams’ high-flying offense to 3 points.

Though it’s unclear where Jones might be used going forward, his versatility and familiarity with the scheme plus his stated desire to remain in New England, made this signing a no-brainer.

Jones happily re-upped with the Patrriots.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Several of Jones’s teammates — including linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley and safety Adrian Phillips — voiced their support of the signing on social media. So, too, did recently retired safety Devin McCourty, who tweeted, “Pats get a true leader back ... Love it.”

Bill Belichick gushed about Jones in December when asked about the corner’s leadership skills.

“Yeah, he is because Jon does everything right all the time,” said the coach. “Works hard, trains hard, always in good condition, takes care of himself. He’s a tough kid. I mean he’s out there — obviously, he suffered the [shoulder] injury last year — everything he can do to be out there and compete and be ready to go, he always wants to compete. Go up against whoever the best toughest situation, toughest matchup is. That kind of leadership, communication, being ready to go, every day, every play, practice, special teams, defense, yeah that stuff is really valuable.


“It’s not all about you know who yells the loudest. It’s about going out there and being really tough, smart, and dependable. He’s all of those.”

Jones is the second of the club’s free agents to re-sign after linebacker Raekwon McMillan agreed to a one-year contract worth up to $1.6 million last week.

Additionally, ESPN reported the Patriots are close to re-signing defensive tackle Carl Davis to a one-year deal. Davis provided valuable veteran depth in front-line rotation with Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, and Christian Barmore in 2022.

Jim McBride can be reached at Follow him @globejimmcbride.