NFL Free Agency: Jacoby Jones May Put New England's Offense over the Top

Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIMay 14, 2011

DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Wide receiver Jacoby Jones #12 of the Houston Texas advances the ball against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It became apparent that the New England Patriots' offense could be stopped in the team's embarrassing January 16 playoff loss at the hands of the New York Jets

If you take a close look at New England's offense, they have one glaring weakness: a reliable wide receiver who's over six feet tall. 

Before I begin to analyze much further, I want to make this very clear that Randy Moss is not the answer in New England and that he will not be returning in 2011. 

What New England needs isn't a "deep threat" wide receiver, but rather a physically gifted receiver who is tough enough to force his way open against press man-to-coverage.

When I take a close at the free agent class, one wide receiver really sticks out and that's Jacoby Jones.

Jones, only 26, spent the last four years as a Houston Texan and has 96 career receptions for 1,229 and nine touchdowns—definitely not shabby at all. However, the most intriguing trait about Jones is that he has continually gotten better and has been emerging into a starting receiver role as of late. 

Last season for the Texans, Jones reeled in a career-high 51 balls for a solid 562 yards and three touchdowns.

One of the most impressive qualities about Jones is that he has a real knack for making a big play. Not only is Jones a solid punt and kick returner, but he's explosive and can make the big play, averaging 12.8 yards per reception and nearly five yards after the catch.

Jones will enter the free agent market as one of the top return men and as a solid up-and-coming wide receiver, so he may come at a high price—but who knows, especially with the NFL lockout in place. 

If the Patriots can snag Jones at a team-friendly contract, I am positive that head coach Bill Belichick would do it in a heartbeat. 

New England does have some young talent at wide receiver with Brandon Tate and Taylor Price. However, Tate has shown some major inconsistency while Price is only entering his second year in the NFL, so pursuing Jones may be a smart decision. 


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