Green Bay Packers Must Find Way to Re-Sign WR James Jones

Green Bay Packers Must Find Way to Re-Sign WR James Jones

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers will have a very busy offseason in regards to free agency. Even though general manager Ted Thompson is unlikely to bring in new faces that could have an immediate impact, he will have to face the facts that certain players from Green Bay’s 2013 squad must be retained. One player in particular is wide receiver James Jones.

There are rumors circulating that the New York Giants are interested in signing the 29-year-old to a long-term contract. One of the biggest reasons why this is a possibility is because New York doesn’t appear interested in bringing back Hakeem Nicks. That means they must find another suitable weapon for quarterback Eli Manning, which Jones is more than capable of filling in the role.

Obviously, this would be terrible news for the Packers. Not only would the Giants get a quality weapon who led the NFL in touchdowns two seasons ago, but also quarterback Aaron Rodgers would lose a big-time asset. Since Green Bay’s Super Bowl window is closing quickly, the last thing Rodgers needs is to have a receiver who he’s established a solid working relationship with leave town. The Packers must do whatever it takes to give Rodgers as many offensive playmakers as possible so that he can ensure defenses will remain one step behind.

Of course, the biggest reason Green Bay won’t be able to re-sign Jones is because of financial reasons. Ironically, the same reason Rodgers will remain a Packer for life is why the organization will be unable to supply him with consistent weapons. It’s not unrealistic to believe Jones will get a five-year deal worth $35-40 million. He’s a proven talent who has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine that Green Bay would be able to compete with that bid.

Regardless of finances, the Packers still must find a way to entice Jones to stay in Titletown, USA. Even with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and the emergence of Jarrett Boykin, the Packers need Jones in order to continue their offensive dominance in the NFC North.

Michael Terrill is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelTerrill, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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  • Phillip

    James Jones would a luxury, Jarret Boykin showed serious ability last year and he’ll cushin the blow majorly, might even be good enough to make it like Jones never left. There’s no way we should pay Jones if its gonna come at the expense of losing Nelson or Cobb next year. Boylin will replace just fine and than because we’ll have Rodgers at QB we’ll develop a #4 WR just fine. Jones is gonna have to move along cause that money needs to go towards D and to our 2 main WRs. What’s gonna hurt our offense most is losing what Finley brings, that’s what we gotta hope can be replaced. And our chapionship window is not closing quickly, Rodgers is just 30, he’s got at least another 5 or 6 years at elite level if not more and than with building a solid D, this team could easily win 2 or 3 rings in the next 8-10 years, easily could become a dynasty in the near future.

    • Michael Terrill

      I love the optimism. Personally, I think Rodgers will have 3 Super Bowl rings by the time his career comes to an end. With that being said, the window is closing, especially when you consider how much money Rodgers and Matthews are getting paid. Let’s be honest, the team should have won it all the year they went 15-1. Just because Rodgers plays at an MVP level doesn’t automatically guarantee the Packers win it all.

      Players are getting older and the players Thompson drafts aren’t fulfilling their duties. Not to mention, Thompson and Capers won’t even be around 8-10 years so there will be a transition period at some point. Remember when Wolf and Holmgren left?

      As far as Jones being a luxury, there’s some truth to that. Personally, I don’t want to see what happens if Cobb goes down again or something happens to Nelson. It won’t be a good situation if all Rodgers has to work with is Boykin and some no-names. If Jones wants too much money then they have to let him walk, but the organization should really do whatever it takes to re-sign him.

      • Brandon J Haas

        I would feel Confident going into next year without James Jones. There are receivers in free agency that could be picked up that are equally the same as Jones. Boykin will replace him but if an injury does happen then there might be some trouble.

        • Michael Terrill

          There are definitely free-agent receivers that could fulfill the role. However, how do you put a price on the relationship Rodgers and Jones have established? That alone is worth the money, especially since Jones is a great talent.

          • Phillip

            Main issue though is if GB does decide to pay Jones this year, it most likely will come at the expense of losing either Cobb or Jordy next season, would you be okay with that??? I damn sure wouldn’t be and if there was some way to keep all 3, than we’d take a major hit elsewhere, odds are the defense that already needs a handful of money dumped it’s way. Jones is a luxury we really can’t afford right now, as much as i hate it and wish we could have him back, it’s the truth. The salary cap can be a bitch, maybe Rodgers will restructure to free up some extra cash to throw Jones way, but i highly doubt that’ll happen.

          • Scott

            I REALLY don’t think that’s the case. James Jones has been a great luxury to have, but again, look at his numbers. He’s been a #3 WR. Boykins this past year put up a year as good as just about any Jones has put up.

            Rodgers freeing up some cash is ABSOLUTELY a possibility. The Packers can, at any point in time, give him a 3 year extension like the Pats did with Brady to free up 15 million in salary cap space. But that’s hardly something they need to do right now. They have plenty of money to get by right now without having to do that.

          • Michael Terrill

            I wouldn’t be okay with losing Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Obviously, if the departure of Jones means that those two are secure for the future then I’m all for it. The reality is Rodgers and Matthews’ contract is going to limit what the Packers are able to do. However, I would rather pay a top three quarterback and one of the best pass rushers in the league (when healthy) the money that they were due. Most teams would kill in order to have Rodgers and Matthews on the same squad.

          • Brandon J Haas

            Ya its hard to know If Jones wants a 3 year 15 million, or 4 year 20 million, or a 5 year 30 million. Wont know till free agency.

      • Scott

        Ok, so you personally think Rodgers will have a Joe Montana like career…though in order to do so, it’d be like about 1983 right now, and yet you think the Packers window is closing? How do you reconcile those two statements? That doesn’t make any sense?

        I personally don’t know if Rodgers will win another SB. I think that starting next year and especially in ’15 and ’16, Seattle and SF are going to be seriously thinned by cap casualties. They may reload, but either way, I think the Packers Super Bowl Window is going to be wide open for the next decade as long as Rodgers is there.

        Second, what does Rodgers and Matthews extension have to do with anything? They paid them LAST year and yet they still have 30 million in salary cap room THIS year. Obviously it didn’t kill the cap. What’s more, the Cap should see a significant jump after the 2014 season. So retaining you’re two All-Pro, MVP/DPOY caliber players is hardly a strong argument to why their window is closing.

        I’m glad you said “lets be honest though,” I was going to be dishonest. So the Packers didn’t win after their 15-1 season. So Aaron Rodgers playing at an elite level doesn’t GUARANTEE anything. What is your point? If you’re looking for guarantees, apply at the IRS. The point is, their window was wide open with Rodgers playing his best.

      • Scott

        Sorry, hit post too quick.
        I don’t understand how you can possibly reconcile your personal opinion that Aaron Rodgers is basically going to lead the Packer to a Joe Montana like run after Montana won his 1st Super Bowl with “their window is quickly closing.” That makes absolutely no sense.

        But a couple more things.
        1-Players are getting older? I’ve yet to EVER see in the history of the world where people are getting younger…unless of course you watched Benjamin Button and thought you were watching a documentary.

        2-I’m glad you said lets be honest. I wanted to lie. So somehow having Rodgers and Matthews, two All-Pro, MVP and DPOY caliber players is a negative? What’s more, obviously Rodgers playing at an MVP level doesn’t guarantee anything. You’ll recall in that 15-1 season however the Packers had a very bad running game. But nonetheless, they were a SUPER BOWL contender, ie, their window was wide open.

        3-Please tell me what team WOULD be just fine if they had two #1 type WR’s BOTH go down at the same time? If you’re going to operate using that logic, than it’s a MUST that we sign a starting caliber QB.
        By the way, “If Jones wants too much money, then they have to let him walk, but the organization should really do whatever it takes to re-sign him?”
        Does that sentence make sense to you?

        4-Thompson’s drafts aren’t “fulfilling their duties?” Really? And why is that? Because you’re looking no further than their 1st round picks and making knee jerk reactions about them?

        2013 draft.
        Datone Jones-Did not play up to expectations. Of course the DL is one of the toughest positions to come in and excel at right away.
        Lets look at the rest of the draft however.
        2nd Rd-Eddie Lacy Offensive ROOKIE OF THE YEAR. He gives us a punishing runner to make the offense far more balanced.
        4th round;
        Bahktiari, Tretter, Franklin
        Now it’s just one year in, so the jury is still out, however, Bahktiari started every game at LT which is probably out of position for him and played well enough. Likely a future RT with Bulaga moving back to LT.
        Tretter is a guy that the coaching staff believes can step in and be an excellent center and can replace EDS.
        Franklin showed a great deal of potential, but because of one untimely fumble and the emergence of Eddie Lacy didn’t get many carries. He clearly looks like a very-very GOOD #2 RB.
        5th round
        Micah Hyde-Big time impact player as a rookie at CB. Very possibly will move to S, huge impact in the return game.
        Josh Boyd-Came on and played very well the last couple games of the year. Again, at a position that players generally need at least a year to transition at.
        The rest of the draft they picked up Sam Barrington, a big hitting young LB’er who at the very least will be a impact ST’s player, Dorsey a promising young WR, Nate Palmer, as well as UDFA’s like Mulumba, and they picked up a BIG physical WR in Harper.
        Looks like a pretty good draft to me.

        2012-Again, the first two picks have yet to distinguish themselves in Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy, though both still figure into our future heavily.
        Beyond that;
        -Casey Heyward- All defensive rookie team, 6 picks and a guy who’s likely to be an impact player for the next 6-8 years.
        -Mike Daniels- One of the top young interior pass rushers in the NFL. Maybe THEE steal of the draft like Heyward who was a huge steal where we got him.
        -Then you add in the UDFA’S like Jarrett Boykins who..again produced much like James Jones has in an average year in his second year in the NFL. Don Barclay who started at RT for the Packers all year, and Sean Richardson who came in and played very well after coming back from a neck injury.

        So we got two big time players. A starting CB, an elite pass rushing DL, a very good #3 WR who essentially matched the player you wrote about in this article that the Packers can’t possibly do without, and some very good depth players in Richardson, Barclay, and two still very promising young pass rushers in Perry and Worthy. Would you feel better if Heyward and Daniels had been our 1st and 2nd round picks, Boykins our 3rd, Perry our 4th, Worthy our 5th, Richardson our 6th, Barclay our 7th?

        2011-Randall Cobb, an elite WR.
        LT Sherrod- A guy who suffered a gruesome injury, but according to McCarthy will push for playing time.
        Davon House-A very good depth guy at CB.
        Jamari Lattimore-UDFA who played very well in limited time last year.

        2010-Bryan Bulaga- Was playing at a pro-bowl level prior to a couple of fluke injuries.
        -Mike Neal-Solid 2nd round pick.
        -Morgan Burnett a guy coming off a poor year, but who had 3 VERY good years to start his career.
        -Quarless-Productive TE who stepped in for Finley and played very well as a backup.
        -James Starks averaged well over 5 yards a carry this past year.
        -Marshall Newhouse provided depth as a 5th round pick
        -CJ Wilson A very steady run stuffing DL we grabbed in the 7th round.
        UDFA-SAM SHIELDS-Obviously a BIG time pickup. Mastay, Zombo, Tom Crabtree, all contributed.

        2009 Draft-
        1-BJ Raji
        Hit on him BIG TIME. Played exceptionally well while at NT. Played very well as a 3 technique, though was wasted a bit. Either way, can’t argue with this pick.
        1A-Clay Matthews Won a DPOY award. Top two picks have been All-Pro’s and finished in the top 10 in DPOY voting with one 1st place finish. Can’t argue with this.
        4-TJ Lang -VERY good guard. A core player on our OL. VERY good get in the 4th round.
        7th-Brad Jones- May have struggled last year, but for a 7th round pick, Thompson found an absolute gem.

        UDFA-EDS is the big steal here. Has become a very good Center who may not be back only because the demand for him on the FA market may be too high.

        I don’t think I need to go back any further.

        So basically, every year we’ve picked up at least a couple legit impact players in the middle to late rounds and have found even more depth. We’ve added VERY good undrafted free agents.

        The “problem,” as I see it comes down to a couple people.
        Datone Jones-1 year in.
        Nick Perry/Jerel Worthy-2 years in, injuries have held each back.
        Derek Sherrod- A UGLY-UGLY injury.

        So we’re giving up on these players after 1 or 2 years now by basically citing them and saying, “Thompson’s drafts haven’t been fulfilling their duties?” I’d say those drafts have been pretty damn good.
        And if a couple of these young players step up and produce for us next year, these drafts look even stronger.

        We’ve won a Super Bowl, went 15-1, 11-5 and then struggled in an absolute injury plagued season this past year while still winning the division…and now it’s Thompson’s drafts?

    • Scott

      Exactly. Boykins numbers last year were better than Jones average year. That’s not to discount Jones. He’s a tough guy, he’s a good redzone receiver, and brings a toughness to the team. But…so does Boykins. He’s a Boldin type receiver with his big hands. Neither have good speed.

      And I’m with you, the whole window closing thing was absolutely baffling to me. They’re finally starting to establish a more balanced offense. Losing Finley absolutely does hurt. Though a FA like Brandon Pettigrew, a guy who never quite lived up to expectations in Detroit, but who is a big, physical target and can stress the seam along with the continued development of Brandon Bostic could give the Packers two very solid TE’s. Or perhaps the Packers draft a Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a 6’7 270 pound TE from Washington in the 2nd round whom many felt was a lock to be a 1st round choice before struggling a bit last year on a average Washington team.

      The difference between the Packers and the Seahawks and 49′ers after their recent success is that the Packers have ALWAYS maintained salary cap space. They haven’t gone out and grabbed a bunch of Free Agents, and because of that, they’re not set up to lose a bunch of their key players right now.

  • Scott

    First of all, even James Jones doesn’t think he’s worth 30 million(much less 40 million a year)…LITERALLY. He said EXACTLY that. James Jones is a VERY nice WR, but his AVERAGE SEASONS in 44 catches, 615 yards and 5 TD’s. How in the world does that equate to a 40 million dollar deal for a WR who’s going to be 30? That’s just absolutely baffling. Especially given the contracts that have been signed the last couple years while the cap has been pretty stagnant.

    Second, how the hell is the window for a Super Bowl closing? That little bit of nonsense should probably be expanded upon. They have a very young team, and both Seattle and SF are right up against the salary cap, yet both are going to have to pay their QB’s in the neighborhood of 20 million dollars a year. The Seahawks are also going to have to pay Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor are going to require BIG money. And this is a team that is 5 million dollars OVER the salary cap after basic RFA tenders are issued with a plethora of FA’s like Michael Bennett, Tate, Thurmond…shit, a ton of guys. That team is going to look VASTLY different in the near future.

    SF has 10 big time FA’s and is right up against the salary cap. Mike Iupati a all pro guard, Crabtree, Aldon Smith as well as Kaepernick are FA’s after this year. Among the 10 FA’s are Donte Whitner, Boldin, Goodwin(Pro-Bowl Center), two of their top three cornerbacks.

    So if anything, their window is opening back up. I think anyone who follows the game realized coming into the 2012 and then even moreso the 2013 seasons, the Packers were going to have a big hill to climb to get back to the Super Bowl. That hill becomes much smaller starting in 2014 and the next few years. I don’t know who they’re losing that would possibly lead you to believe they’re window is “closing.” Is it their ROY running back? MVP QB who’s all of 30 years old? Oh, or is it the 30 MILLION DOLLARS in salary cap room they have?

    The Packers manage the salary cap about as well as anyone in the NFL. They do have Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson coming up as FA’s in the next year and they’ll likely cost 18 million in cap room combined. Jarrett Boykins played 2 games with Rodgers prior to his injury, and WR is one of the positions that Thompson excels at more than any other via the draft. If Jones is willing to come back for 3 years and 14 million or so, great. And he very well might. But he’s absolutely not a “must sign,” player.