Green Bay Packer’s Slick Free Agent Signing: Brad Jones

Yeah, I know –  The signing of Brad Jones last week by the Green Bay Packers didn’t exactly make major headlines or hit the SportsCenter ticker under “Breaking News.”

But you know what? I applaud it. All Green Bay Packers fans should.

brad jones green bay packers

Green Bay Packers linebacker Brad Jones (59) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of reasons for this. While Jones has occasionally been known to disappear in games, he made the most of an opportunity last year when D.J. Smith went down with an injury and made that inside linebacker slot indisputably his own, at least for the remainder of the 2012 season.

Jones started 12 games – including the two playoff tilts – notching 92 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Pro Football Focus graded Jones as a top 10 inside linebacker in 2012, so that’s essentially signing a top-10 linebacker for not-top-10 money at $11.75 over three years (including a $3 million signing bonus). Also, this means Jones, who will be 27 when training camp begins, will be playing in Green Bay during his athletic prime.

This key signing (did I remember to say thank you, Ted Thompson?) was made possible in part by A.J.  Hawk’s agreeing to take a massive pay cut. Hawk was a not-top-10 linebacker making close to top-10 money who will have a diminished role in Green Bay going forward if numbers mean anything – especially if Smith and stalwart Desmond Bishop bounce back healthy.

It’s also true that Jones has some experience at outside linebacker, and no one has yet stepped up opposite Clay Matthews. Perhaps Thompson saw a potential 2-in-1 depth solution in Jones in case Nick Perry doesn’t develop as quickly as the team had hoped (and Perry did miss out on valuable playing time last year due to a wrist injury). Let’s not forget that Jones registered four sacks in limited duty at outside linebacker his rookie year.

This is actually something of a coup for Thompson, in my mind; it was reported that as many as nine teams were interested in Jones, and he even made an official visit to the Tennessee Titans. In the end, Jones remained a Packer, and I for one am glad for it, even if he doesn’t steal a starting slot. My guess, however, is that he will.

Heck, I’d be OK with paying Jones just to reward him for fracturing Brett Favre’s ankle in 2010 and helping to force the Ol’ Gunslinger into throwing three delicious picks in a Packers victory. Ah, memories.

Was the Brad Jones signing a good one for the Packers? Do you think Ted overpaid for him?

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Tags: A J Hawk Brad Jones Green Bay Packers Inside Linebacker Ted Thompson

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