During this year’s offseason, the Carolina Panthers are looking to fill two much-needed gaps in their team: the wide receiving corps and their offensive line. After finally putting the franchise tag on Greg Hardy, they now need to focus on other pressing needs. While the free agent market has some great wide receivers available, due to the Panthers’ limited cap space their options are limited. However, one option that could really bring some much-needed receiver help to the Carolina offense would be James Jones.
Jones is coming off his eighth year in the NFL and ending his contract with the Green Bay Packers. While he is by no means a great receiver, Jones managed to put up decent numbers last year, posting 817 receiving yards while also recording three touchdowns. There are reports that Jones may return to Green Bay, but if he is on the market, the Panthers should make a move to try and bring him on board.
Cam Newton has proven that he is not a quarterback who can function without receivers (such as say Tom Brady can). Newton is a good, strong, athletic passer, but he needs more targets if he is ever going to rise up to be one of the top passers in the league. Ted Ginn Jr. is most likely going to be re-signed while the future of Steve Smith is largely up in the air. That leaves the Panthers in a situation where they either need another down field threat or somebody who can get in between the linebackers and make short yardage catches.
Jones has the ability to fill both of these roles. Yes, his last year may not have been his most stellar performance, but Jones has put up very strong numbers in the past (2012 being his best season) and a veteran receiver would help balance out Newton very well. It is not entirely certain that Jones will hit the market, but with his veteran skills, solid catching ability and low contract expectations, he could be a great fit for the 2014 Panthers.