Wide receiver and kick returner Jacoby Jones was one of the heroes of the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII victory, but his successful tenure with the team came to an end Wednesday after three years.
According to the Ravens' official Twitter account, the organization released the 30-year-old veteran from his contract ahead of free agency:
Head coach John Harbaugh commented on Jones, via the team's official website: "We thank Jacoby for what he did for us. He was invaluable to our success. Opponents, especially on special teams, schemed to stop him. What a compliment to him."
General manager Ozzie Newsome also provided a statement, saying, "We think he can still play in the NFL, and releasing him now allows him a better opportunity to land with another team."
Regarding his infamous touchdown catch against the Denver Broncos in the 2012 NFL playoffs, Newsome added:
We don't win Super Bowl XLVII without Jacoby. You immediately think of the touchdown against Denver in the Divisional round and then the big plays in that Super Bowl – the long touchdown from Joe [Flacco] and the kickoff to open the second half. He also had a big punt return in that game. Jacoby was an outstanding Raven, good teammate on and off the field.
While Jones didn't contribute much as a pass-catcher in 2014, with just nine catches on 18 targets, his release still comes as something of a surprise.
Per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1, the former third-round pick of the Houston Texans played out just one year of a four-year deal he signed ahead of the 2014 campaign:
While the Ravens won't have to pay him his base salary of $2.5 million in 2015, the move doesn't save them much against the cap, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun:
Jones was still an asset as a kick and punt returner last season, registering a return touchdown for the fourth consecutive campaign.
Per Luke Jones of WNST.net, though, Jones wasn't as dynamic in 2014 as he had been in the past:
With the Ravens needing to focus on signing big-ticket free agents such as wide receiver Torrey Smith, running back Justin Forsett and defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, Jones may have been a luxury they could no longer afford.
Due to Jones' obvious special teams impact, however, he shouldn't remain on the open market for long.
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