With training camp beginning across many NFL cities on Thursday, there’s a reason why some free agents are still, well, free agents. Most of the time, it’s due to said free agent wanting too much money, just not being good enough anymore, or having too much off-the-field baggage that teams don’t want to deal with.
For former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, it’s the latter two. After the Bengals declined his $5.5 million option in March, the 34-year-old has been without a job in the NFL. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Cleveland Browns will try out Jones on Friday.
Browns are trying out Bengals’ free-agent CB Adam Jones on Friday, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 26, 2018
There’s a connection for Jones in Cleveland, and that’s with head coach Hue Jackson. Before coming to the Browns, Jackson served as the Bengals offensive coordinator, so the two are familiar with one another. Then again, doesn’t that mean that Jackson would know about all of Jones’ antics? Guess not.
The sixth-overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans, Tennessee got rid of Jones in 2007 after he missed the entire season due to a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. In all, the cornerback has been on three teams during his career so far. Over his last eight seasons, all of which have been in Cincinnati, the cornerback has totaled 305 tackles (61 assists), 67 passes defended, and 12 interceptions, one of which was a pick-six. While also returning punts and kickoffs from 2011-15, Jones was named an All-Pro in 2014 and Pro Bowler in 2015. He has started in 39 games since the beginning of 2015 and his 2017 campaign was cut short after nine games due to a groin injury.
In case you thought the cornerback may have turned a corner and is potentially headed in a positive direction off the field, he was caught getting into a fight with airport security just a couple weeks ago. TMZ has a video of said fight.
While general manager John Dorsey has stated that he will continue to look at cornerbacks, there have to be so many better options than Pacman. They may not be as good as him on the field, but is a guy like Jones truly worth bringing in if he carries all that baggage?
On a team that is trying to rebuild and has some many young players, you want to have veterans in the locker room that will help the situation and ones that the young guys can look up to. Do you really want a rookie like Denzel Ward to look up to and learn from Jones? No, not even close.
I completely understand wanting to create more competition and adding talent to a position that you think needs to improve overall, but his off-field problems just aren’t worth it. Now, if he was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, you may be able to look past those problems and realize that either he will improve a little or you can just deal with the baggage solely due to the amount of talent he has on the field, but that isn’t the case in this situation. Add in the fact that he will turn 35 in late September and potentially signing him seems even more strange.
When Jones flies to Cleveland to try out for the Browns on Friday, he will likely bring 10 bags of luggage with him. One will be for his football equipment, another will be for all of his personal things, and the other eight will be filled with all of his off-the-field baggage. He truly does have that much, and for that reason alone, the Browns need to stay as far away from Jones as possible.