Before I say anything, I just want to make it very clear that James Jones is a great player and athlete. The Packers would not have won the Super Bowl without him last year.
Jones had many opportunities to catch some easy touchdown passes that were gift-wrapped by Aaron Rodgers and failed, but he also made some beautiful touchdown catches as well. In fact, Greg Jennings was the only Packers receiver to have more touchdown receptions than Jones.
That aside, I don't believe it would be best to keep him.
The more I see of the Packers passing attack, the more convinced I become that Jones is expendable. And I was already convinced they ought to just let him walk.
Jones has been near invisible this season, with one reception in the preseason and only one reception in Green Bay's season opener against the New Orleans Saints.
If this kind of production continues, then the Packers should seriously consider trading him, and I feel that there are four other key reasons why.
Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson
If you haven't noticed already, Nelson has been playing far more, and far better than he ever has. In his past seven games, Nelson has 526 receiving yards and four touchdowns to Jones' 189 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
I'm becoming more and more convinced that Nelson has more potential than Jones. Especially because Jones was given the No. 2 receiver position and Nelson outperformed him in just about every way.
We haven't seen much of Randall Cobb but I can say that this young man has so much potential that it's a wonder he ever fell in Green Bay's lap.
Nelson and Cobb were so good together in the season opener that Jones only caught one pass in the entire game. It makes one wonder why we have Jones at all, but then you could also argue that they were so open because the defense had to put so much focus on Jones.
But even if that's true:
He's Easily Replaceable
Not only is it difficult for the Packers to able to use all their wide receivers, but even if they do end up needing another receiver, it will be easy to fill Jones' vacated spot.
Tori Gurley and Chastin West were stars in the preseason, and that was while competing with Jones on the field, who only had the one reception.
I would love to see Gurley play, because Gurley is a 6'4" receiver with a wingspan of nearly seven feet! In training camp he blocked five punts and nearly had a another against Indianapolis (Although, I counted two, as you'll see in the videos to the right).
Gurley was a consistent player in the preseason, but he also has the potential to make an impact on special teams. Even if we end up missing Jones even a little bit, I believe Gurley or West (preferably Gurley) could easily fill the void.
The Green Bay Packers can either re-sign Nelson or Jermichael Finley, but they don't have enough to re-sign the both of them.
Either Finley takes the majority of the remaining cap space and the Packers possibly restructure Masthay and Rodgers' contracts, or Nelson gets re-signed and the Packers definitely restructure Rodgers and Masthay's contracts.
Finley has previously stated that he wants to be the highest-paid tight end in the NFL, but with a little bit of luck he will change his mind. If Finley agrees to take a reasonable contract, and the Packers don't have the cap space to re-sign him, it would the most devastating scenario of all.
Trading Jones would help prevent such a scenario from happening because it would give the Packers all the cap space they need, which would be about $10 million.
Would we be doing him a Favor?
There's been a lot of talk lately that Rodgers is going to have some difficulty keeping his receivers happy simply because there's too many receivers to throw to. Wouldn't trading Jones help solve this problem?
It appears as though we might end up having to get rid of someone soon anyway, because someone is going to get very frustrated having to act as a diversion instead of someone who is supposed to actually catch the ball.
We might be doing Jones a favor.
It's not like I expect Jones to only have 100 yards for the season or anything, and offensive coordinator Joe Philbin has made it clear that he wants to get him more involved in the offense.
Next week, Nelson could catch one pass for five yards, and then Jones could catch five passes for 60 yards.
But we're running out of time before the trade deadline looms, and all things considered, I feel confident in my belief that it would be necessary to trade Jones.
For anyone who believes otherwise, simply ask yourself: will you say that it was the right decision of Finley or Nelson go on to have big numbers on other teams? Think about it.
Finley might want to stay with the team, but we'd better make him an offer before another team offers to overpay him when he becomes a free agent. And Nelson, when it comes down to it, is a better receiver than Jones.
To me it's simple. The Packers should trade James Jones.
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