Oct 25, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) gestures during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The San Diego Chargers have officially waived Jacoby Jones, which means that he is fair game for any NFL team, provided that he clears waivers. Jones was a disaster in San Diego this season, returning nine kickoffs for 193 yards (21.4 yards per kick return) and five punts for negative four yards.
Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) returns a kick-off against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. The Ravens won 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jones dropped a fumble or two in key situations and lost the Chargers’ trust; his inability to return gain a single yard, let alone not lose a yard, certainly didn’t help. San Diego will be on the hook for Jones’ remaining salary, provided that he doesn’t clear waivers, and it was frustrated enough with the former Raven to eat the salary and get rid of him, despite a season-ending injury to the team’s top wide receiver, Keenan Allen.
Jones clearly hasn’t been good in San Diego, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a bad player. The return specialist for the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Ravens made the Pro Bowl in 2012; he’s returned four punts and five kickoffs for touchdowns throughout his regular season career and returned a kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII.
A longtime Raven, Jones has plenty of experience burning AFC North opponents as a punt and kickoff returner. The Bengals know Jones’ talent firsthand, as they took a long, hard look at him in free agency before San Diego signed him to a 2-year, $5.5 million contract in the 2015 offseason.
Jacoby Jones, although occasionally mistake-prone, is a better returner than Brandon Tate. Given Jones’ track record of success in the AFC North, his playoff experience and the Bengals’ desire to limit Adam Jones‘ special teams snaps, signing Jones would be a great move for the Bengals.
If anything else, he’d certainly make Cincinnati’s already talented 7-0 squad just a little bit more exciting.