The Buccaneers badly need a playmaker or some sign of life on offense. At 0-5, this is precisely the kind of franchise that could afford to take a shot on someone, give a second chance to a former first-round draft pick with a strong skill set.
Matt Jones has made some mistakes in his life, but he also had a very solid workout for the Bucs on Tuesday, according to sources, and, as in his workout with the Titans a few weeks back, he showed great hands.
You can’t tell me that Jones couldn’t add something to this spiraling Tampa Bay team. At what point do his substance-abuse issues no longer keep him from finding work? It’s a league of second chances. So, when you see smart, progressive teams such as the Eagles buy low on someone like Michael Vick, who brings much more baggage, wouldn’t you think one of the struggling clubs out there would give someone with much more minor issues an opportunity?
The concerns with Jones, according to league sources, stem more from his off-the-field issues than the body of work he has put together and his workout with the Bucs. Tampa Bay already lost out on a potential difference-maker when it passed on DL Anthony Hargrove, another player with a troubled past. Hargrove has been an unsung hero for the first-place Saints.
The receiver the Bucs signed today — Yamon Figurs — is a burner, on the smaller side, who can help in the return game. They worked out five receivers and could stand to sign more than one. If I’m them, I’m not closing the door on Jones.
Is there some risk involved? Sure. But you can get Jones cheap on a no-frills contract, he’s still young, and, if works out, you might have found a nice cog to help build around. If Jones slips up, he faces possible league discipline and you move on. But there are plenty of players in the league who have done far worse, and there are very few guys with Jones’ size and speed on the street.