The Bengals have reached a two-year agreement with Adam “Pacman” Jones.
Jones was the first defensive player drafted (taken sixth overall by the Tennessee Titans) in the 2005 NFL Draft.
As a rookie, Jones had 44 tackles, 10 pass deflections, and no interceptions. He also had 1,399 return yards and one touchdown.
In Jones' second season, he had 62 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, 12 deflected passes, four interceptions, 130 return yards, one interception touchdown, and 14 passes defended. He also had 440 punt return yards and had three punt return touchdowns.
He led the NFL with a 12.9 yard per punt return average, and he was seventh in the league in kick return yardage with 26.1 yards per kick return.
He was suspended from the NFL for the entire 2007 season and for part of the 2008 season for off-the-field conduct.
The Bengals may not be able to sign their current cornerback tandem of Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall.
Joseph will be up for a new contract after this year. Top corners in the league make insane money these days. The Bengals could be looking at spending around $14 million for each one.
Pacman, meanwhile, could probably be signed for around the veteran minimum of $630,000. David Jones has a contract of over $1 million.
If Pacman has anything left, he or Jones could be a cheap replacement for Joseph or Hall.
The Bengals can roll the dice by signing guys who can help the team for cheap deals, as long as the foundation of the team is made up of high-character guys.
This is a classic low-risk move with a huge upside.
If Jones can turn things around, he has a ton of potential. If he does not work out, it doesn't do much harm.
Jones could enable the Bengals to have the best group of corners in the league. If that happens, this is a great signing. Jones may just end up like Cedric Benson.
It is hard to blame the Bengals for taking a low-risk chance on a guy with super-high upside.
On the other hand, if he comes in and is out of shape, the Bengals will simply waive him. There is nothing to lose, except for enduring the same tired and lame "Bengals are criminals" jokes.
Unfortunately, the past baggage Jones brings will certainly put the negative spotlight on them again, while the media will wait for him to slip up.
At this point, who cares about that?
The Bengals heard that when Benson was signed.
The Bengals are thin in the secondary. The safety core is average. If one or both of the cornerbacks go down, they are in trouble.
Also, an experienced nickel is needed if the Bengals are serious about doing anything in the playoffs.
In a passing league, going four or five deep at cornerback is essential.
At his best, Jones was a shutdown cornerback. Jones could still be their third or fourth cornerback. He could give the starters a break here and there.
He also was a very good return man and could step into that role again. The addition of Jones creates competition at both cornerback and punt/kick returner.
The signing of Pacman Jones would show that the Bengals will win at any cost.
Bengals fans can take the high road on this, but most of them don't care who they sign, if it brings the team team a championship. They have suffered many losing seasons following this club.
Guys like Jones have helped the Bengals before.
In 2005, there was Chris Henry and Odell Thurman. Last year, the Bengals had Cedric Benson. They would not have made it to the playoffs without those players.
Also, Mike Zimmer would not bring in Adam Jones if he didn't think he could help them win.
Overall, signing Jones would give the Bengals more options on defense and special teams.
The Bengals can use Jones in nickel and dime packages. He can also play free safety. This move may also allow Morgan Trent to move to free safety if needed.
The Bengals will rely more on Bernard Scott this year. Jones can help by returning kicks.
For more good stuff about the Bengals:
This article looks at Carson Palmer's career and why he hasn't gotten a playoff win.
This article gives five reasons why the Bengals should sign JaMarcus Russell.
This article asks some questions about the Bengals draft.
This article wonders whether Marvin Lewis should be signed to an extension.
Don't cost nothin'.