PHILADELPHIA PA - JANUARY 09: Aaron Rodgers #12 celebrates with James Jones #89 of the Green Bay Packers after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9 2011 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
James Jones is an unrestricted free agent, and due to the Green Bay Packers' salary cap concerns, he might not return to the team. While most agree that Jones has quite a bit of talent and that he is worthy of a spot on the team if he wants to return for a short-term deal with a small paycheck, most are not sold on him as a long-term option. His tendency to drop seemingly easy to catch passes, along with the other talent at the wide receiver position that is on the roster means that Jones is expendable, in the eyes of most. And most people are not Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers' quarterback thinks that re-signing Jones in free agency should be "priority number one." In an appearance on ESPN Radio 540 in Milwaukee on Tuesday, Rodgers made the case for bringing Jones back to the team.
"James is extremely talented and he's a guy that I think we need to bring back without a doubt," Rodgers said. "He should be priority No. 1 and I mean that with all my heart. He really should be priority No. 1. We don't win the Super Bowl without him and we need him."
I'm a bigger fan of Jones than most on the site, I've come to discover, but I can't help but think Rodgers is only looking at this from one or two angles instead of considering the big picture. What Rodgers meant when he said what he said is that Jones is a quality player and a good guy to have around, and for that reason, he wants him to stay on the team. Jones played well last year, and he was a big part of the team's Super Bowl win. That's only part of the picture, though.
The Packers have Jermichael Finley coming back from injury and they just drafted Randall Cobb. I think that most of us are looking for Jordy Nelson to step up and play a bigger role this season. Donald Driver is, by all accounts, healthy and ready to go, so Jones is unlikely to start. With the Packers facing cap issues and the roster having four other high-quality targets for Rodgers, it seems unlikely that the team will offer him a multi-year deal better than a competing team can offer him.
I'm a big fan of Jones and I hope to see him in green and gold this season, but not at the cost of another player. The cap situation is tight and re-signing him is going to be tough. If he takes a cheap one-year deal because he wants to stay here so badly, I'll love him for it. But if he leaves to take a multi-year deal elsewhere, I won't begrudge him or the front office.