Back in 2010, James Jones was in his fourth year in the league and Packers fans were not quite sure what to make of him. He had shown signs of being a solid number three receiver but had some big drops at crucial times, and like Jermichael Finley, fans began to question his hands. His best year in his rookie contract was actually 2010, the year he became a free-agent for the first time. He had 50 receptions for 679 yards and 5 touchdowns, showing why the Packers should indeed re-sign him. After Aaron Rodgers lobbied for his return, Jones signed a three-year $9.7 million contract. This turned out to be a great decision for Green Bay.
Two of the Packers’ more physical targets, Jermichael Finley and James Jones, are both free-agents. Minus the loss of Greg Jennings, the Packers have done a good job of keeping the receiving corps together for a few years. I’m not so sure fans should feel good if the Packers ended up losing both players. James Jones was the guy who stepped up when Greg Jennings was injured through parts of the 2012 season. He led the league in touchdown receptions with 14. I cannot speak for all Packers fans, but the season that Jones had in 2012 made me feel at least a little bit better about losing an offensive weapon (Jennings) to the Vikings. That performance was clearly the reason why Aaron wanted him back, and I expect the same desire to have Jones back next season.
With the way our offense has performed in recent years, I have never expected many changes to be made at the skill positions. Clearly, no team is able to keep the same group of players together year in and year out but I believe Rodgers’ success can be partially attributed to the fact that he has been throwing to many of the same players for a few years now. James Jones has proven to be a crucial part of the Packers offense. While Jarrett Boykin has proven he can be relied on, he does not bring the physical presence that Jones does. I think it is important that the Packers don’t go back-to-back years losing receiving weapons.
While Ted Thompson may think the Packers have plenty of young talent at the receiver position, I still believe it is important for them to keep key veterans around like Jones. However, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are free-agents in 2015 and could be up for big contracts so it will not be shocking to see Jones leave if he can get more money somewhere else.