The madness of free agent season is upon the NFL and fans are always surprised with the results. The Cincinnati Bengals reached out to cornerback Adam Jones and shocked their fans. According to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jones will be signed to a three-year deal in excess of $20 million.
The deal came late Wednesday evening and follows the re-signing of strong safety George Iloka. As of this writing, the Bengals have yet to make a move for Reggie Nelson.
The re-signing of Jones shows that the Bengals are confident about their future. Bringing Jones back at 32-years-0ld is a testament to the organization’s trust in his skills and ability to change. Despite drawing a ton of attention for his costly penalty in the playoffs, Jones enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2015.
That Wild Card game in Cincinnati raised eyebrows around the country. In the fourth quarter, with less than a minute to play, the Bengals led the Steelers 16-15. It looked like the Bengals would be able to walk away with a playoff win. Per Pro Football Reference, their last postseason victory was against the Houston Oilers in 1991.
Jones and Vontaze Burfict had late penalties that put the Steelers in prime position to win the game. Jones has since taken responsibility for the loss and is ready to move on.
“I know I lost my cool in the last game. That won’t happen again,” Jones explained. “Discipline lost us one game, which was the playoff game. Beside that, coach Lewis did a good job of making sure everyone was on the game page.”
Overlooking the persona the media has placed upon Jones, his passion for the game is phenomenal. Despite having an ankle injury sideline him, Jones bounced back and played in his first Pro Bowl. He has made a turnaround while wearing Orange and Black. His enthusiasm has soared and his off-field antics are gone.
Last season was a spectacular showcase of Jones’ skills. He had 62 tackles (53 solo), one sack, one forced fumble, 12 passes defensed and three interceptions in 14 games played. Jones only allowed one touchdown against him all season. That was a one-handed catch by Deandre Hopkins in the Bengals’ first loss of the year against the Texans.
Adam Jones is ready to play and determined to get the job done.
“I’ve got some unfinished business. We’ve got some unfinished business.”
There were many teams that courted Jones during the time the Bengals were structuring a deal. One of those teams was Mike Zimmer’s Minnesota Vikings. Zimmer made a strong pull to Sway Jones’ thinking. But his allegiance was with the Bengals.
“I wouldn’t have come back if I didn’t think we could still win over the next three years. Out of all the teams I talked to, we’ve got the best chance of any of them to win it all.”
The Bengals move was wise for both the offense and the defense. Not only is Jones a lockdown corner, he has heavy ties to the return game. In his time with the Bengals, Jones has 1,265 yards on kick returns and 933 yards on punt returns.
Disregarding the media perception of Jones, his play has been stellar. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed the fifth-lowest quarterback rating.
Fans and media analysts will always be opinionated about Jones and his play. But, as he stated before, he would like to stay in Cincinnati. The Bengals have made that possible, for the next three years. Bengals brass has shown they are serious about keeping the defense together and primed to win. It’s time to translate that vision into a ring.
[Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]