It appears imminent that Adam Jones is on his way back to the NFL. Network insider Jason La Canfora has blanketed the story all week, and NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche posted some great insight Wednesday on the pending signing after his conversation with Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
Solid cornerbacks don’t grow on trees (now there’s a money-making idea), and at the end of the day this represents a low-risk, high-reward move by the Bengals. If Jones plays for Zimmer, the Bengals win. If he doesn’t, they have an easy out. What’s most striking, however, for a player who hasn’t seen the field since 2008, is the amount commentary — on every angle of the topic — he draws from NFL Nation.
What Jones is and isn’t is still somewhat of an unknown that even Zimmer alluded to, saying, “I know what he was before, but we don’t know what he is now.” Jones was a fourth cornerback and return specialist when he last saw the field in Dallas, a similar role he’s expected to have with the Bengals, who have a need for a return man.
Both Marshall Faulk and Michael Lombardi agreed on Jones’ defensive acumen Wednesday on NFL Total Access.
“The thing about Pacman that I always find fascinating, is I just wish I could watch him play football where he’s really a good football player,” Lombardi said. “I think he’s a better return man than he is a corner. I think he can certainly help them. Quan Cosby was their punt returner last year, he did a nice job. I think ‘Pacman’ Jones, for all the talk that he gathers, I just don’t see evidence on tape of shutting anyone down playing corner.”
The Bengals, with the highly regarded Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall, don’t have a huge need on defense for Jones. They added Keiwan Ratliff to a position that was already deep, and used a third-round pick on Brandon Ghee, who could fill the role of nickel corner.
Because of his profile, not necessarily his play, there’s a lot of talk surrounding Jones. But, again, you can never have enough experienced corners in the current NFL, which the Bengals’ latest signing only proves.