The Baltimore Ravens just keep plugging away at their offseason to-do list, crossing off one more item by re-signing Jacoby Jones. Jones has been a dynamic playmaker for the Ravens since coming to Baltimore and, while some would consider him a luxury signing, there is no doubt that he will be a central figure for the Ravens moving forward.
NFL Media’s National Insider Ian Rapoport reported the terms of the deal:
Jacoby Jones’ deal with the #Ravens is worth $14M over four years, per source.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2014
In some ways, that might appear to be too much money. After all, Jones is really a No. 3 receiver, and the Ravens would have been able to find some cheap returning options on the market or through the draft.
What grade would you give the Ravens for the Jacoby Jones deal?
Before you start thinking that Baltimore overpaid Jones, however, remember two things. Firstly, of that $14 million, only $4.5 million is guaranteed. We’ll have to see what the cap hits look like over the course of the contract, but the Ravens will likely be able to release Jones in the third or fourth year without significant financial implications.
More importantly, Jones is a playmaker.
There’s just no other way to describe it. He has a knack for making huge plays when the Ravens need them most, and he can win a game in an instant—either as a receiver or a returner.
Just look back on how the Ravens got to and won Super Bowl XLVII. Jones was on the receiving end of the “Mile High Miracle,” indisputably one of the greatest plays in franchise history. But he saved his best for the final game of the year, scoring two phenomenal touchdowns in a performance that arguably should have earned him Super Bowl MVP honors.
Looking at that annual salary of $3.5 million, the Ravens are under no illusions about the charismatic wideout. General manager Ozzie Newsome doesn’t view Jones as a No. 2 receiver—that salary says as much—and he’s not.
But he’s found a niche in Baltimore as a rotational receiver and returner extraordinaire. In fact, you could easily say that Jones is the best overall returner in the league right now. After all, Jones is tied with Percy Harvin for the most kickoff return touchdowns (5) in the league since 2009 according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Throw in his ability to stretch the field as a receiver and the improved route running we saw in 2013, and the Ravens have landed another good bargain.
Also...that Jacoby Jones deal is deceiving. He got a 4 year deal to help with the cap. His actual payday will be a lot smaller. Good deal— Samuel Njoku (@Ravens_Examiner) March 12, 2014
Furthermore, Ian Rapoport reports (say that five times quickly) that Jones actually turned down a more lucrative offer to stay in Baltimore:
Thought Jacoby Jones visiting the Giants today was a leverage play. Turns out, he turned down more money elsewhere to stay in Baltimore— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2014
For that price, it’s a great move by the front office. I can’t give it an A+ because I don’t think it was a completely “necessary” move, and re-signing Jones doesn’t change the Ravens’ need for receiver help. Regardless, Jones is a force defenses and special teams units have to game plan against and is a threat to score whenever he touches the ball. For $3.5 million per year, that’s what you’d call a bargain.
Shehan Peiris is B/R's Lead Featured Columnist covering the Baltimore Ravens and a co-host of Ravens Central Radio, a weekly podcast on the Pro Football Central radio network that focuses on all things Ravens-related. For breaking news, roster evaluation, draft analysis and links to the latest episodes of Ravens Central Radio, follow me on Twitter: