The New England Patriots are turning to a familiar face to play cornerback and return punts. As first reported by Jeff Howe, the Patriots have signed cornerback/punt returner Cyrus Jones off the Baltimore Ravens practice squad. Howe later added that it's a two-year deal worth $1.81 million.
Jones, 24, was released on Sept. 1 as part of the Patriots' final roster cut-downs. The Ravens then signed him to their practice squad on Sept. 2. The third-year corner out of Alabama is likely to be the team's punt returner, after receiver Riley McCarron lost the job following a muffed punt in the season opener against the Houston Texans. Jones can also provide depth at cornerback.
The former Alabama corner's NFL career got off to an inauspicious start. He fumbled five times in 10 games as the Patriots' return man, then tore his ACL before the 2017 season. Jones competed mainly with McCarron for punt return duties during 2018 training camp. The team ostensibly valued McCarron's contributions at receiver over Jones' at cornerback. But McCarron, who is currently on the Patriots' practice squad, turned out to be unreliable in the punt return department.
Jones was starting to show his tantalizing potential as a dynamic punt returner in the 2017 preseason before tearing his ACL. So the Patriots, who are in a bind at punt returner at the moment, are willing to give him another chance. If he goes back to fumbling like he did as a rookie, the team will have to start over once again.
To make room for Jones on the roster, the Patriots are releasing recently signed running back Kenjon Barner, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].