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Green and Bold: The Music Stopped, and James Jones Had No Chair

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Green and Bold: The Music Stopped, and James Jones Had No Chair

It's not personal; it's a business decision. The Packers reportedly will not re-sign James Jones.

It's not personal; it's a business decision. The Packers reportedly will not re-sign James Jones.

It's a fantasy that wide receiver James Jones could have returned to the Packers for the 2016 season, and yet fans were still surprised and disappointed when Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday that the Packers informed Jones' agent they wouldn't be bringing him back. 

Now, being a fan isn't always an experience steeped in rationality, and fans don't have to think or comport themselves like general managers.

But most fans can mitigate their expectations or desires with the realities of compiling a 52-man roster and managing a salary cap, even if they are not bound by those limitations in the same way. 

While it's easy to argue that Jones' presence and performance on the team beginning in Week 1 of the 2015 season allowed the Packers to remain in contention despite their middling offense and rash of injuries at the position, it's harder to argue that Jones is absolutely essential to what the Packers want to do in 2016. 

After all, aside from the fact that Jones took over a role vacated by Jordy Nelson that will no longer be open this season, with Nelson on track to return for training camp, the Packers enjoyed seeing encouraging growth and development from their young pass-catchers in 2015. 

Ironically, part of what allowed those receivers—players such as Ty Montgomery, Davante Adams, Jeff Janis, and Jared Abbrederis—to make a jump last season was the fact that Jones and Randall Cobb commanded much more attention by defenses, thereby freeing up their young weapons to get open and make plays.

But Jones, who turns 32 at the end of this month, has been in this business long enough to know that in the NFL, youth is king.

Sure, he had career-highs in receiving yards (890) and yards per catch (17.8) and had his second-most touchdowns in any season, with eight.

But the Packers' draft-and-develop mentality means that seasoned veterans rarely get the nod over up-and-coming young talent, for better or for worse. 

Jones' production soared at the start of the season as opponents tried to figure him out, but it didn't take long for that to happen. Defenders exploited his lack of speed and, when Montgomery and Adams got injured it became even easier for defenders to zero in on Jones. 

Perhaps if Abbrederis and Janis had not turned a corner in the postseason, the team would have been content to re-sign Jones to a one year deal in place of bringing one of those third-year receivers back.

But Janis had an eye-popping seven catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs against the Arizona Cardinals, while Abbrederis stood out in the playoff game against Oakland with three receptions for 33 yards. 

Every offseason, the debate rages on about whether the Packers will keep five or six wide receivers on their final roster. Without factoring in Jones, the team already has Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Montgomery, Abbrederis, and Janis to contend with. 

Jones deserves credit (and gratitude) for bailing the Packers out after Nelson went down last offseason. But his work here is done. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RCPackerFan's picture

I wasn't surprised at all that they decided to move on from Jones. Packers have 6 WR's that if they don't get hurt will most likely be on the 53 man roster next year. Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Montgomery, Abbrederis, Janis all should make the 53.
For Jones the biggest question I had about bringing him back was whether he would help the young WR's in their development throughout the off season or if he would hurt it by taking away very meaningful reps from them.
IMO, they are doing the smart thing. They need to get all the young WR's as many reps as they can with Rodgers to get them all on the same page. Every rep that Jones would get is one taken away that Adams, Abbrederis, Janis, Montgomery would have gotten.

Samson's picture

Are you at all concerned about ability? --- Your list has many unproven WRs. -- Unproven WRs are a dime a dozen,

RCPackerFan's picture

Adams performed well his rookie year. Had a sophomore slump but started to come on strong at the end of the year.
Abbrederis was injured his rookie year but started to come on in his second year.
Janis is still raw but came off his best game as a pro.

All 3 WR's will be entering their 3rd year in the league. I'm expecting all of them to take a step.

Montgomery was on his way to a very good rookie year until an ugly injury ended it.

I'm not concerned at all with any of these players.

Nick Perry's picture

At least with Jones the Packers have a proven #3 WR behind Nelson and Cobb. One that hangs onto the ball, knows what Rodgers is thinking, and knows how to uncover when Rodgers starts to scramble which Adams clearly doesn't. I understand at 32 playing the position he does, his days became numbered 2 years ago. No matter I'd still have liked to see him come back on a Vets Minimum contract if possible. BUT with Montgomery (Excited about him), Janis and Abby, it's not really possible. 6 WR's would be a bit much.


Stay by the Phone James and don't sell the house, you just never know! Thanks JJ, 8-8 would have sucked last year!!

Samson's picture

You're right. The first major injury or AR complaint & JJ will be on the next plane.

Packer_Pete's picture

I think they will keep 6 WR on the roster, especially if Janis is #6, simply because he is great on ST. Jones would not be in the plans, but who knows, if there are injuries again and he is available, I am sure they'll give him another look.

Of the 6 listed, I think the one who will have the hardest time staying on the roster is Adams. At least that is how it should be. But we all know he is basically a pro-bowl player, so #12 will make sure he will stay on the roster.

Thanks for what you did for the Packers James!

dobber's picture

Adams has a high draft slot working in his favor and he'll get the benefit of the doubt through his rookie contract. I think that Abbrederis, who offers little outside of his play at WR (buried on the depth chart), is the odd man out. As mentioned, Janis has strong ST play working in his favor and last year showed that the WR corps needs to get faster. It's Abby who needs to be looking over his shoulder...especially if the Packers draft another WR (which is very possible).

croatpackfan's picture

Might be what you said, but 1. Aaron praised Jared for his work and knowing playbook, claiming that he is one of the best route runners on the board; 2. Jared should at one moment take PR duties from Mycah, so he is also valid member of the ST...
But, Jared and Jeff will need to show further improvements to stay on the team. That is for sure...
I agree with you that draft position will give Davante Adams another year on the team, but I think he must do much more this season if he plans to be on the roster in the future...

dobber's picture

I agree that Abby could contribute on PR, but he's not likely to stick solely for that reason unless he leapfrogs both Hyde and Cobb, who are capable of returning punts and are all but locks to make the roster in 2016.

Adams reminds me a lot of James Jones early in his I remember, he had issues with drops prior to his breakout years in 2012-2013. That said, there's a ton of competition at WR and Adams will need to turn it around or there won't be a seat at the table for him for very long

Evan's picture

I'd say it's March 23 - the "music" hasn't remotely stopped yet. A lot can still happen/change.

RCPackerFan's picture

that is true. A lot can change.

At this point in time though, I'm not surprised that they have decided to move on.

Who knows, we might get to training camp and have a rash of injuries, and they could definitely call Jones back.

dobber's picture

Bite your tongue!

croatpackfan's picture

I really like James Jones. I mean really, really like him. But he is nor worth of the injury rush we had last season. Nobody is!

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Last year we had what 4 receivers that got injuries. Some were season ending, some were unable perform on the field for weeks. So maybe he will be there or maybe not when we need him but keep by the phone JJ.

dobber's picture

Because Abby still has a chance to become more than what he's already shown...Jones is only going the opposite direction. For a guy who, either way, you probably don't want to have to rely on, which would you rather have?

dobber's picture

I think what we saw last season was that when the Packers were short Nelson and Montgomery, it really didn't matter who was playing the 3rd or 4th WR role.

Samson's picture

Guess what Cow. --- AR would agree with you. He & JJ are close.

Tundraboy's picture

You had Abby on your dead wood list??

LeagueObsrvr's picture

Tom Silverstein wrote an interesting article this morning detailing how the Packers may utilize their wide receivers this year to alleviate the hole at tight end:

egbertsouse's picture

Dropvante Adams will probably just fall off his chair so JJ could take his. Hopefully TT gets over his man-crush and dumps Adams before the season. Yeah, I know it's just wishful thinking on my part.

AgrippaLII's picture

I think Thompson drafts another WR this year...possibly as high as the fourth here isn't going to be room for a WR already on the roster much less resigning Jones.

AgrippaLII's picture

I think Thompson drafts another WR this year...possibly as high as the fourth here isn't going to be room for a WR already on the roster much less resigning Jones.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

To My Buddy, My Pal, My Friend:
Well Done James!! I'm glad I got a chance to watch you play 1 more year. You were a Bright Spot on the team. Thanks for your Great Career in Green Bay.

Green Bay may be cutting a 32 year old Receiver, but they are also cutting the Receiver with the Best Hands on the team. Good Luck to you JJ, whatever happens this year.

I'm proud to name you to my All Time Favorite Green Bay Packers Team.


Samson's picture

Wow!! --- Looks like D. Adams is the new Packer fodder according to the clowns that visit this site. --- Think of this. He had a bad 2nd year. He still has more talent than Abby & Janis combined. --- Please don't make me come back with a list of all the great late round WRs & UFAs that now work at WalMart.

tm_inter's picture

while Abbrederis stood out in the playoff game against Oakland ...
Michelle, I don't recall the Packers' playoff game against Oakland last season. They only played a regular season game on December 20, 2015.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Adams has the potential to become a really good receiver, but to this point, he's been hurt more than he's been healthy & when he's been on the field, he can't seem to catch a cold. Those 2 things need to change. He reminds me more of Finley. He couldn't catch either. Right now GB has some really good receivers, but none of them catch more than they drop. That needs to change.

I personally think we should cut our losses on Cobb before it's too late. I don't think he'll ever be 100% again. I think GB should draft wide receivers #1 & #2.

I don't think we have enough time to draft ourselves to another SB. We need to Buy It. Start trading the Dead Weight & get some Play Makers. JMO


sonomaca's picture

This is a terrible draft year at WR. I expect Packers to go D-Line and ILB with first two picks. Ted will try to find a gem at WR with one of the 4th round picks.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Nothing wrong with that., but I'd rather go O-Line, & Big Bodies the rest of the draft. If we can't get an outstanding receiver with our #1 or #2, then we better see what we got, or trade for one. This team needs Play Makers. We don't have 2 - 3 years to develop. JMO.


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