The Cowboys, in need of a replacement for Mario Edwards, declined to participate in the cornerback market a year ago. But they ended up playing musical chairs at right cornerback. Pete Hunter, Jacques Reeves, Tyrone Williams and Lance Frazier all started there in 2004.
Dallas is expected to pass on the big-name corners available this off-season. Law, Rolle, Washington's Fred Smoot, Seattle's Ken Lucas and Baltimore's Gary Baxter are expected to earn fat contracts. Cleveland cornerback Anthony Henry, who is likely to come cheaper, is at the top of the Cowboys' free-agent wish list.
"The rules are definitely impacting to some degree what we're looking at in the secondary," Jones said. "You'd still like to get the best player possible no matter what the rules are, but I feel that the new rules ... have mitigated to some degree what a 'shutdown corner' can mean to a football team.
"We saw it all last year, where people tried to man up on people, and the best they had, the best there are, got beat a lot more, it seemed, than in years past. I think it had everything to do with the rule and the shutdown corners' ability to play their game. And that might make a big difference in how much money you want to put there."
The top five cornerbacks available in free agency:
Ty Law, Patriots: Four-time Pro Bowler played in only seven games last season.
Samari Rolle, Titans: 23 interceptions in the past six seasons leads the NFL.
Fred Smoot, Redskins: Smoot, 25, had 16 interceptions in his first four seasons
Ken Lucas, Seahawks: Lucas, 26, had six interceptions last season
Gary Baxter, Ravens: Baxter, 26, had 247 tackles the past three seasons
Note: The Dolphins have allowed Patrick Surtain to seek a trade.
Top draft-eligible corners
Antrel Rolle, Miami: Caught everyone's attention when, as a junior, he held Larry Fitzgerald to three catches for 26 yards.
Adam Jones, West Virginia: "Pac-Man" led the Mountaineers in tackles last season, had three interceptions and averaged 14.8 yards per punt return and 23.2 yards per kickoff return.
Carlos Rogers, Auburn: Thorpe Award winner had 47 tackles, defensed 10 passes and intercepted two others last season.
Marlin Jackson, Michigan: Gave up 15 catches and two touchdowns last season in 41 passes against him.
Justin Miller, Clemson: Played in all 37 games of his career, making 13 interceptions.