Another day, another Bengal that is drawing interest from new head coach Hue Jackson’s Cleveland Browns team. This time around, it’s on defense. According to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns have expressed interest in Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones.
Before becoming Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator before the 2013-14 season, Jackson was the Bengals secondary assistant and special teams coach, so the two have plenty connections. A Pro Bowler in 2015, Jones has had his fair share of on- and off-field issues. In a superb 2015 season, he registered 62 tackles, 12 passes defended, one sack, and a forced fumbled. Due to his efforts he was named one of the best defenders on the team. But, in his nine-year career thus far, Jones has played for Tennessee (two seasons), Dallas (one), and Cincinnati (six).
Despite all of the success, Jones’ season ended with a penalty for making contact with an official during wildcard playoff weekend against the Steelers last season. Jones subsequently admitted his mistake and hopes that he can not only learn from it, but get past it as well.
“Of course we lost composure and don’t let things rile us up with coaches coming on the field, stuff like that. I learned a lot from this game. I’m not going to let that one situation take away from everything I’ve done for the team and for myself these last couple years. Everybody know I’m a passionate person. Some things I do it’s just, I wear my (heart) on my sleeve or however you want to say it. It is what it is.”
Not only is Jones a shutdown cornerback — and one of the best in the NFL at doing so — but the one called “Pacman” is also one of the best kick and punt returners in the league. In 2015, the 32-year-old averaged 23.5 yard per kick return and 11.2 yards per punt return, something he hopes to bring to his next team.
“That’s got to be a part of my game. I won’t stop doing that. That gets me going at corner. It’s something I have a knack for and I feel I’m the best at doing it. Anywhere I go, punt return and kick return is going to be a main topic.”
With Pro Bowler Joe Haden’s struggles in 2015, including allowing a near perfect passer rating in 2015, the Browns are in desperate need of a lockdown cornerback to put alongside Haden. Jones could be a huge addition to Cleveland’s defensive backfield assuming he can ease up on the distractions. Along with the Browns, the Cowboys, Dolphins, Raiders, Ravens, and Vikings are also interested in the cornerback.
Free agency officially begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, but teams could begin negotiating with players starting on Monday.