Why Matt Jones to the Cincinnati Bengals Makes Sense

Kevin RobertsSenior Writer IFebruary 12, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 05:  Matt Jones #18 of the Jacksonville Jaguars sits on the field during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on October 5, 2008 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

It's about friggin' time .

The former Arkansas quarterback and Jacksonville Jaguars receiver, NFL&hl=167569&id=3128" title="Matt Jones" target="_blank">Matt Jones , appears to finally be getting another crack at the NFL after sitting out the entire 2009 season.

Jones, who was released during the 2009 offseason following cocaine allegations, sat out the entire 2009 NFL season as he was unable to find the right (or any) suitor, despite appearing in an interview on ESPN in an effort to clear his name and display his eagerness to move on from his mistakes.

However, despite just the one "screw-up", serving a three-game suspension, being released, and coming clean with his issues (as well as over-coming them), this fast, talented receiver went job-less for an entire season.

And the worst part was, no one seemed to care. Even more, few people cared to even question: where the hell is Matt Jones?

After catching 65 passes for 761 yards in just 12 games as Jacksonville's top receiver in 2008, Jones was inexplicably released after serving a suspension to end the season, despite the alleged instance that led to the suspension occurring before the season began.

But let's not get into Jack Del Rio and all of his shenanigans. Because, let's face it, no one knows why Del Rio does what he does. And unless you're a Jaguars fan, you simply just don't care.

Still, it's fairly interesting that the team knew about Jones' situation all season, kept him, used him, and then threw him away after he served the suspension.

What's even more interesting, though, is that with all the crimes (many being much worse than doing some coke) committed by other players, Jones is the one guy you hear about (or don't hear about) who suddenly falls off the face of the earth.

Regardless, Jones is making a comeback, and at 26 with great height and speed, he shouldn't have much trouble.


Well, in the past year, he's only been quietly mentioned to be "trying out" for Tampa Bay, Tennessee, and now Cincinnati.

It is believed that the Titans were fairly interested in bringing him on last year, as they were unsure of their receiving corps with Justin Gage, rookie receiver Kenny Britt, and slot-man Nate Washington.

However, Jones didn't sign with the team, as the team ended up feeling confident Britt could make an immediate impact (he did), and Jones didn't want to sign on to battle for a third spot, or worse, settle for fourth on the depth chart.

Not settling for that fourth spot could have killed his career, as a sense of humility and "starting over" would have been a good sign that Jones had grown up and was willing to put the team ahead of his personal accolades and goals.

Regardless, he's still proven that he has grown as a person, and now he has another chance with the Bengals (go figure).

But this time it's really a chance. He's not trying out to be a back-up to some rookie and a slot receiver. He's not going into Tampa Bay to rattle Michael Clayton.

He's trying out in Cincinnati so he can give Chad Ochocinco and the Bengals something they've been lacking—a true deep threat that has the ability to go over the middle, run slants, and also be used as a possession receiver.

Good-bye Laveranues Coles, and hello Matt Jones?

It may sound odd, but it could very well happen.

In fact, it really just makes perfect sense. The Bengals take in the league's so-called trash, they need a receiver with the tools that Jones has, and Jones can be had for cheap (slightly over $700,000).

This move could potentially slide Coles into a slot role, where he'd be better suited, or it could even prompt the Bengals to release him (the better option), giving Andre Caldwell slot duties while giving Cincy two guys on the outside who have experience as a number one, can burn down the field, and aren't afraid of going over the middle.

Folks, this is exactly what Carson Palmer has been missing; a true complement to Chad Ochocinco, a guy who knows humility, a guy who has something to play for.

Ochocinco will keep running his mouth, flashing the gold, and reporting news via Twitter. That's what he does.

Coles will continue to sulk, drop passes, and play ineffective football. That's what he does.

Jones, on the other hand, will come in, prepare, study, and fill the role he's going to be signed for.

Yes, the Bengals have had a history of taking in troubled, damaged talent, and yes, despite Jones appearing completely clean and safe, there's always a certain level of risk.

But this is a can't-miss play. Jones isn't the bust people think he is.

He simply never got a fair shake in Jacksonville, never had a truly elite quarterback throwing him the ball, and quite frankly, when he did play, he was completely misused.

As we saw for Cincinnati in 2009, things are beginning to change for the better, and so too will they for Jones.

Experts complained all season long that, while the Bengals defense and running game were strong, they lacked a vertical passing game that could stretch the field.

Well, Cincinnati fans, you can call it a knee-jerk reaction if you want (especially since he hasn't even signed yet), but consider Jones your answer to those critics.

Well, here's to hoping, anyways.


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