Prior to this season, Green Bay Packers linebacker Brad Jones was probably best known outside of Titletown as the guy who tackled the fan who ran on the field a couple of seasons ago.
But don’t tell that to the eight teams that contacted him this weekend – eight teams that have shown interest in his tackling abilities on the field of other players, not just fans. The information about the interest by the other teams was reported first at JSonline.com, who cited Jones’s agent, Josh Wright.
Not only is that somewhat incredible, but it also shows just how far Jones has come in the past year. Up until the first couple of games in 2012, Jones was a valuable special teamer and practice player, sitting behind the likes of Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk, and even D.J. Smith. But when both Bishop and Smith went down with season-ending injuries last year, Jones stepped in and stepped up.
Considered somewhat lanky and slight for an inside linebacker (6-3, 242 pounds), Jones played well last season in his role. He had 77 tackles, recorded two sacks, broke up four passes and even forced a fumble.
Now, the real question is whether the Green Bay Packers feel the same way about Jones as the other eight teams that have contacted him.
It’s unclear at this point what numbers Jones will command and whether the Packers will jump into the negotiations and keep one of their own.
Weighing into the decision for the Packers will be how secure they feel in the health of Smith and Bishop. Smith is coming off a severe knee injury and it’s unclear whether he will be ready to go by training camp and it will be the same for Bishop, who had a significant hamstring injury that also may keep him out for part of the 2013 season.
With those factors facing them, many feel the Packers will expend one of their draft selections on an inside linebacker.
But in the meantime, the real test will come this coming Tuesday afternoon when the Free Agency signings will begin.