Last week king.nothing took on the ambitious task to fill our bye week dull drums with some analysis to this point in the season. The article I was looking forward to the most posed the question of whether the Packers overpaid for James Jones, but alas we never got that article. So instead of crying myself to sleep another night in the face of this disappointment, I decided to face the issue myself and see what kind of response would come back.
Well then....without further ado.....Did the Packer overpay for James Jones?
In short, no.
This question perhaps was apt in the beginning of the year when Jones was playing the invisible man on the roster. Back in those dark days I was as guilty as any other of looking to dump Jones. In the last two weeks Jones has had some key catches, including some big touchdowns. His production is also pretty respectable so far considering the amount of talent in our receiving corp.
Now the counter to this is that James Jones is clearly the number four receiving option for the Packers, if not the number five. For this is he is making about $3.75 million. That might be considered expensive for a number four option on a team. Jordy Nelson's emergence this year, almost putting a strangle hold on the number 2 WR option exacerbates this question of James Jones' value.
Despite these reasonable points Jones' production and value should not be underrated. First and foremost is the team friendly deal Jones has right now. Three million and change is pretty cheap for a veteran receiver with Jones' big play ability. Typically a guy of Jones' ability would be at least a number two receiver on a team and would be making around 4 mil per year and getting much more playing time. Doubt this? Ask yourself how many teams would Jones be an upgrade for at least one of their starting WR options. I can think think a couple teams off the top of my head that he would a clear upgrade for for example the Rams, Bears, and Redskins to name a few. Thankfully the Lockout shortened free agency and Jones choose stick around and make a name for himself in a high powered offense.
Even if we say that his contract is too high, there is still tremendous value to overpaying a receiver like Jones for two reasons: 1) the offense is based on having more receiving talent the defenses can defend and 2) the upcoming retirement of Donald Driver.
It can't be overstated how much our team depends on an overpowered offense. While this offense starts with the amazing performance of Aaron Rodgers, it is extremely important that the Packers are overloaded at WR and TE. Part of the reason that Rodgers is on the pace that he is at is because there just isn't a defense that can go as deep as the Packers in coverage. Take away Greg Jennings? Okay. You can take away Jermichael Finley too? Whatever. Think you can keep those two down and blanket Jordy Nelson? Still not good enough with Driver, Jones, and Randall Cobb ready to take a step up.....and if there is a defense that can go that deep they probably don't have the money to spend on offensive talent to match what we have on the other side of the ball.
The other piece looks ahead. Next year Driver should be riding off in to the sunset and Cobb might still be developing. Having both Nelson and Jones around and in their prime allows us to not miss a beat as we continue to sustain our current level of greatness.
So all in all, the Packers didn't overpay for James Jones. He is important to our current and future plans and came at a pretty good price tag on top of it.