Jacoby Jones in High Demand, Was Releasing Him the Right Move?


Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA USA; Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith (82) celebrates with receiver Jacoby Jones (12) after an 11-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter during an AFC wild card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Jones’ release by the Baltimore Ravens couldn’t have happened with much less fan fare.  It was an unsurprising move with the return specialist due a rather steep $2.5 million in base salary in 2015, even if the move might only save the team $750,000 (unless he is designated as a post June 1st cut).  For a team that is only around $4.6 million under the cap, any unnecessary spending has to be addressed.

That’s a lot of coin for a guy who only caught nine passes last season and somehow managed to drop five.  But Jones’ release has led to immediate interest from some teams, including the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tennessee Titans, mainly due to his proficiency on special teams.  Jones ranked second in the NFL in kick returns last season and ninth in punt returns.

So Jacoby Jones is obviously still a dangerous return man, a skill that many teams covet.  While the Ravens have a ready made replacement in Michael Campanaro, or they can easily fill the role in free agency or the draft on the cheap if necessary.  In spite of that fact, some have questioned the move. Personally, I think it was a no brainer.

Special teams has been a strength for the Ravens for many years now, but players who are solely solid return men rarely get paid in the NFL.  Precious salary cap space should be rationed carefully, with premium positions getting most of the provision.  That would include quarterback, cornerback, wide receiver, an edge rusher, and perhaps an elite offensive or defensive lineman.

Jacoby Jones, despite being the hero of the Ravens’ last Super Bowl win, has sharply declined as a pass catcher.  He has never had good hands, but his performance on the field last year sealed his fate as a Raven.  This is a pay for performance league, and teams must ask themselves if each player has earned his contract every single season.  In 2014, Jones did not – plain and simple.

Next: Justin Forsett is playing the waiting game

More from Ebony Bird