With a passel full of youth at the wide receiver position, as well as the anticipated return of number one wideout Jordy Nelson, the Packers simply don’t have the space on their roster, nor do they want to spend the cash on a receiver like Jones, who is clearly nearing the end of a very productive career – most of which was spent in Packers News.
With the news early this week that the Packers were committed to moving on without Jones, there were those of us who were a bit choked up at the thought of watching Jones walk once again.
The Packers allowed Jones to sign in free agency two springs ago when he moved on to Oakland.
However, after a season on the West Coast, the Raiders cut Jones, who was their leading receiver in 2014.
Jones was picked up prior to training camp by the New York Giants, but was one of the final cuts by that franchise just before the start of the regular season in 2015.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Packers had just lost Nelson to an ACL tear and were looking for someone with experience to breathe some life into an offense that had all of a sudden found itself without their number one pass-catcher.
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Though Jones didn’t set the world on fire in Green Bay – sometimes succumbing to his lack of speed and inability to always separate from speedy cornerbacks – Jones did end up with 890 receiving yards and eight touchdowns for the Packers last season.
For his career, Jones caught 433 passes for 5,861 yards and 51 touchdowns in the 136 regular-season games in which he played.
But that’s history now … and there are no other people on the planet who are probably more pleased about the situation than Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis. The two third-year players will head into the 2016 season with a much greater chance of making this team’s roster.
The two speedy receivers labored on the bench last season, either because of injury or because they just weren’t ready for prime time. The coaching staff just didn’t have the confidence to put Janis on the field and though Abbrederis was a notch above Janis on the depth chart, he suffered injuries that hampered his chances.
That was until the very last game of the year when Randall Cobb went down to injury and the Packers coaching staff was forced to go with both Janis and Abbrederis.
It was Janis who stood out in the game and raised the expectations of all fans when he came up with huge plays in the Packers’ near comeback against the Cardinals in the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs.
Janis caught a huge fourth and forever pass for a first down and then turned around and caught the second of Aaron Rodgers‘ Hail Mary passes to send that playoff game into overtime.
It became clear after that game that these youngsters were the future and that Jones had run his course in Green Bay.
And with the announcement this week that Green Bay would be moving forward without Jones, the giddiness in the corners of the youngsters must be at a high level right now.
In addition to Janis and Abbrederis, the Packers will also have Ty Montgomery, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams on the roster … and that’s not counting any receivers who may come to the team through the draft or via the undrafted free agency routes.
No doubt, there will be competition among this group when training camp comes around, but there is the likelihood that most, if not all of these players make the 2016 Packers’ roster.
And they will be allowed to do so without James Jones in the house … unless for whatever reason the injury bug strikes this team again.
Mike McCarthy said this week never to say never … and should September roll around again without all those receivers eligible, don’t be surprised that if Jones is home on the couch that the Packers have him on speed dial.