The Green Bay Packers have some tough choices this offseason and one of the more difficult ones will be what to do with James Jones.
The veteran receiver was a life saver for the Packers this past season. After Jordy Nelson went down to injury and the Packers signed Jones and all he did was catch 50 passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns. He was impressive and he made some big plays.
Yet, the NFL is no place to be sentimental. And the bottom line is that even though Jones had a heck of a year, he’s in his 30’s and there is no room for him in Green Bay next season.
For one thing, Jones is long in the tooth. He was able to make some plays down the field, but that’s more because he is crafty and has a good rapport with Aaron Rodgers. They guy can’t beat man coverage. He has a hard time getting open on a slant or a curl route. And in the NFL, guys like that just don’t last that long.
Nelson will be back in the fold and according to reports, he looks great. He was injured last August, so as long as rehab goes well, there should be zero concern about his status. Randall Cobb will also be back and he will aided more than anyone (other than Aaron Rodgers) by the presence of Nelson. Cobb can also go back to being in the slot almost excluslively.
Davante Adams is also still a young player with upside. He played well in the playoff game against Washington and dealt with a nagging ankle problem for the most of the year. He has a good chance to bounce back and beyond that the Packers have Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis, who both played extremely well in the postseason.
With Jones, it’s really not even about money. Even if he was willing to take a minimum deal, unless there is an injury at some point, I just don’t think there is room for him in Green Bay. With the five receivers mentioned above, as well as 2015 3rd-rounder Ty Montgomery, who will also make an impact next season, the Packers are loaded at wide out and Jones would probably be wise to try and take his services elsewhere.
I love James Jones and think he has had an oustanding career. And if someeone gets hurt, I hope he is out there as a free agent because I definitely think he can still contribute. But to me, at this point, Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Montgomery, Abbrederis and Janis are all better than him — simple as that.
However, the one thing that Jones has going for him is the support of Rodgers. Rodgers trusts Jones and he said after the season that he wants him back. Now, Rodgers has said this before and it hasn’t mean anything, like previously with Jones. Yet, it did seem to help John Kuhn a couple of years ago and maybe it could help Jones now.
Best case scenario for Jones in my opinion: He signs a one-year deal that gives him a chance to win a job in training camp. But I doubt he gets anything guaranteed from Green Bay, especially if the Packers select a receiver relatively high in the 2016 NFL Draft.
It was a good year for jones and he has put up some solid numbers in Green Bay. But, in the end, his age and the Packers youth at receiver with finally catch up to him.