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Can the Cincinnati Bengals and Adam Jones reach a new deal?

Adam Jones Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals declined their option for Adam “Pacman” Jones. His current contract expires on Wednesday. Even though the Bengals declined the option, they still would like Jones to stay in Cincinnati. This move was strictly a business move. The Bengals now save $6.44 million in cap space. With the cornerback off the books, Cincy only takes a cap hit of around $667,000. Jones was also due of bonuses of around $500,000.

Cincinnati has been the home of Adam Jones for the past eight NFL seasons. He was selected sixth overall by the Tennessee Titans in 2005. In 2006, Pacman led the NFL with 3 punt return touchdowns. He has five total in his eleven-year career. In the secondary, Jones has been just okay. Time is catching up with the 34 year-old and he no longer is a shutdown corner. In 100 games with the Bengals, Pacman has started in 68 of them. He has 12 picks to his credit along with 2 defensive touchdowns. As a punt returner, Jones has racked up 1,112 yards and an 11.3 return average. His kickoff returns has been solid as well, averaging 26.4 yards-per-return. A groin injury in 2017 caused Jones to finish the season Injured Reserve.

If Adam Jones and the Cincinnati Bengals can reach a new agreement, his role will most likely be as a return man. Playing the nickel slot is an option, but expect Cincinnati to rely on their younger players to keep the secondary functioning. Darqueze Dennard, William Jackson, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Tony McRae all seem to be better options. He could take on a role to mentor the younger players, but I don’t realistically see that happening. Some disciplinary issues in the past will make him less desirable to teams looking for secondary depth or a solid returner. At this time, staying with the Bengals is his best option.

The decision to send Adam Jones to free agency comes less than a week before the NFL free agent signing period starts. The Bengals now have around $39 million in cap space to play with. Cincinnati was dead last in the NFL in offensive production, averaging 280 yards-per-game in 2017. The defense fared better in some areas, but needs a lot of improvement in others. Adding some good players to their weaknesses is top priority. That’s why freeing up cap space and renegotiating a deal with Jones is the best move the Bengals could make with the defensive back. The only thing left to see is whether Pacman Jones will take less pay or just move on.