James Jones: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation on Free-Agent WR

Danny WebsterAnalyst III

Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones warms up prior to the start of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday Dec. 13, 2015, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

After one of the best seasons of his career in 2015, wide receiver James Jones doesn't want to leave the Green Bay Packers.

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Jones Wants to Stay in Green Bay

Monday, Jan. 18

Jones, a soon-to-be free agent who has spent eight years with the Packers over the course of his career, told Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday that he would like to return to Green Bay in 2016.

"Man it was great to be back," Jones said. "Be back with my teammates, a lot of guys that I came in with for the first seven years of my career. It felt good. I wish it would have ended a different way. It didn’t; but it felt good to be back. I’ve said it before, I would love to finish my career here. But I said that last time, so. ... It’s a crazy business. We’ll see what happens."  

In his second stint with the Packers, Jones turned out to be a godsend for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy.

Jones was on two other teams, the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants, before coming back to the Packers. The 31-year-old signed a three-year deal with Oakland in 2014 and was cut in 2015 after head coach Jack Del Rio told Jones that he wanted to get younger at the receiver position, per the MMQB's Jenny Vrentas:

When I went in there and I talked to Reggie [McKenzie], he said, ‘J.J., Jack Del Rio wants to go a different route. He wants to go a little younger and have the receivers grow up with Derek Carr.’ Even though Michael Crabtree is 28 years old. So that was their choice, and I just told them, ‘Thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate everything that you guys have done for me.’ And I walked out the door. 

After Jones was cut by the Giants, he went back to Green Bay to be a stopgap after the team lost top receiver Jordy Nelson for the year because of a torn ACL. 

Playing for the Packers for the first time since 2013, Jones set a career high in receiving yards with 890 yards, and his eight touchdowns were the second-most ever caught in a season. Jones was targeted only twice in Green Bay's NFC Divisional Round matchup against the Arizona Cardinals and did not record a catch.

Jones has heard the "getting younger at the receiver position" talk before from Del Rio, and it may be brought up again with McCarthy. Nelson will be back next year along with Randall Cobb. Promising young receivers Davante Adams, 23, and Jared Abbrederis, 25, will also be more involved next year, especially with Rodgers saying Abbrederis needs to be on the field more, per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky.

Also, don't forget 24-year-old Jeff Janis, who prolonged Green Bay's season for a few more moments this past Saturday.

Jones showed he can still play at a high level, but it may not be in Green Bay because of the talent already there. If someone gets hurt, though, don't be surprised if the Packers are the first team to call him back.