The biggest signing of the 2013 offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals was made today as the club agreed to a new 3-year deal with cornerback/return-man Adam “Don’t call Me Pacman” Jones.
In 2012 while logging 626 defensive snaps, he held opposing receivers to just one reception for every 6.3 targets that came his way, and one every 11.5 coverage snaps he played. Those numbers put him in the top 25 in each category among qualifying corners in the NFL.
Pro Football Focus graded his cumulative coverage grade at +10.6, which ranked sixth among all cornerbacks in the NFL last season.
Prior to the beginning of free agency, Pro Football Focus ranked the 10 best free agent corners, and they believed Jones was the third-best CB on the market:
3. Adam Jones
2012 Grade: +10.5
2012 Snaps: 626
Summary: The best-kept secret in the NFL these days is that Adam (formerly Pac-Man) Jones has not just reformed his image but also reformed his play and quietly had an excellent season for the Bengals. The season was so quietly excellent that when it came time to argue about the end of season PFF Pro Bowl rosters, there was quite a pitched battle inside PFF offices between those that knew he had played excellently and those that simply refused to believe the numbers!
In the end he just missed out in a close battle for the last spot in the Pro Bowl roster, but the point remains that he is playing at that kind of level now. Being opposite Leon Hall can’t hurt, and there is obviously a substantial risk attached to a player with his history, but on merit alone there is a good case to be made that he should be the top name on this list.