Jonathan Jones on entering free agency: 'It's hard to say no to New England'

Free-agent cornerback Jonathan Jones hopes to remain a member of the New England Patriots.

Speaking Wednesday from a Big Sister Boston event in honor of International Women's Day, Jones said despite a desire to re-sign in New England, he understands anything can happen.

"That's the desire, to be back here," Jones said, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. "It's what I know, it's what I love, It's New England. It's hard to say no to New England."

The 29-year-old corner has spent his first seven seasons with the Patriots after going undrafted out of Auburn in 2016, winning two Super Bowls in the process.

"Being here, is where I've spent a lot of my adult life. It's been a part of my journey and I love it. (The Patriots) have been a big part of my life," he said. "My development, from a young man coming here when I was 22 years old, and just growing ... so I would love to still be around. I love New England. It holds a special place in my heart."

In his first six seasons, Jones spent most of his time in the slot, where he became one of the top nickel corners in the NFL. Last season, the Patriots asked him to play more outside due to a lack of options. That experience should help his market next week, but he's best suited playing the slot, and should get paid as such.

NFL Network's Mike Giardi reported earlier this week that the expectations around the league are that Jones, the No. 31 available player in Gregg Rosenthal's Top 101, will have a number of suitors in free agency.

The more suitors, the greater chance someone gives the former undrafted player his first big payday. But Jones noted interest from "both sides" in getting a contract done before free agency opens on March 15.

"I can't say that I have any insight that it would (get done before free agency), but it's possible we could," Jones said. "That would be great. If not, that's just part of it. ... At some point, I'd like to have it past me. But it's going to be what it's going to be. I think I'm just taking it in stride and enjoying the journey."

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