Adam Jones

AFC North Rumors: Harrison, Ross, Browns

James Harrison sounds like he’s regretting his offseason decision to re-sign with the Steelers. The 39-year-old edge defender told NBC’s Michele Tafoya he would have signed elsewhere had he known he was going to receive this level of playing time (Twitter link). Harrison’s been active for just four Steelers games and has played just 29 snaps. While the Steelers viewed him as a bullpen-type weapon this offseason, those plans either haven’t come to fruition or are part of a long-game solution by the Super Bowl-contending team. He delivered standout football as a full-timer last season, and Pro Football Focus has not viewed Bud Dupree‘s work highly this season. But it hasn’t been enough to get Harrison on the field. Harrison signed a two-year deal to stay in Pittsburgh in March; the Steelers can save $1.3MM by cutting him after the season. While Harrison could look elsewhere if he wants to continue his career, he’ll turn 40 in May and did not fare well the only other time he left Pittsburgh, having retired from the 2013 Bengals.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions.

  • John Ross enjoyed an up-and-down 2017. The former Washington speedster became a top-10 selection despite offseason injuries but enjoyed one of the more nondescript rookie seasons a first-round wideout has in memory, playing just 17 snaps over three Bengals games and failing to catch a pass. Ross will encounter more hurdles soon. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter) Ross will undergo surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder. This comes after Ross underwent a procedure to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. While this marks yet another surgery for the oft-injured pass-catcher, Rapoport notes Ross is expected to be ready by OTAs.
  • The Bengals placed Adam Jones on IR on Saturday, but the veteran cornerback does not want to wrap up his career just yet. The 34-year-old Jones said (on Twitter) he’s “not done playing football.” A team option will determine whether Jones will play his age-35 season on the Bengals, who can save $6MM by cutting the polarizing but effective corner.
  • Paul DePodesta and John Dorsey have yet to meet, with their first summit set to come when they watch Sunday’s Browns-Packers game together. Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports the team’s chief strategy officer was not in on the GM’s hiring, and the longtime Browns reporter doesn’t see how this setup will work. The former MLB exec and Dorsey will each report to Jimmy Haslam, with some potentially contradictory philosophies, while the Browns attempt to move on from a chaotic period that was largely caused by disparate-thinking voices in the building.
  • However, the draft choices Brown acquired and cap space he helped create were the most attractive part of this job, Dorsey said (via Pat McManamon of ESPN.com). Dorsey will control the 53-man roster for the first time in his GM history, commandeering these responsibilities after Andy Reid had them in Kansas City, and he’ll be entering an offseason with more than $110MM in cap space and five first- or second-round picks in the upcoming draft. Dorsey will also likely have access to the No. 1 pick, just as he did during his first Chiefs draft in 2013. The Chiefs took Eric Fisher atop a lower-regarded draft that year.

Bengals Place Adam Jones On IR

The Bengals have placed cornerback Adam Jones on injured reserve with a groin injury. To take his place, the team promoted fellow corner Tony McRae from the practice squad. "<strong

Jones, 34, was forced out of last week’s game against the Steelers with the injury. On Pittsburgh’s first offensive drive, Jones dove to intercept Ben Roethlisberger. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get up after that when he suffered the tear.

Jones’ season is over after just nine games, 23 tackles, one interception, and four passes defensed. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus indicate that this has been his worst season ever as a pro. His overall score of 47.0 portrays him as a below replacement level player and he is ranked just 91 out of 115 qualified cornerbacks. For reference, he was PFF’s No. 37 CB in 2016 and their No. 15 CB in 2015.

Given his age, regression, and history of off-the-field issues, it’s fair to wonder if Jones will be back with the Bengals in 2018. He’s under contract for next year with a $6.66MM cap number, but the Bengals would only have to eat $666K if they release him.

Losing Jones will hurt the Bengals’ already slim hopes of reaching the playoffs. Cincinnati is 5-7 heading into tomorrow’s game against the Bears with just a 1.7% chance of securing an AFC Wild Card spot, according to Football Outsiders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Bengals

Bills head coach Sean McDermott admitted it’s a “fair question” as to whether Buffalo would have traded Sammy Watkins had they known fellow wide receiver Anquan Boldin would soon retire, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (multiple links). Although McDermott referred to the two transactions as “separate entities,” Boldin announced his retirement just four days after the Bills shipped Watkins to the Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round selection. Of course, Buffalo also acquired pass-catcher Jordan Matthews on the same day it traded Watkins, and the Bills are “always” examining upgrades at wide receiver, per McDermott.

More from Buffalo and two other AFC cities:

  • The season-ending injury to cornerback Tony Lippett will have consequences for the Dolphins not only for the upcoming season, but for the 2018 campaign, argues Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Lippett, a collegiate wide receiver, had taken a massive leap as a defensive back in 2016, playing nearly three-quarters of Miami’s defensive snaps. While Lippett’s development may have allowed the Dolphins to release Byron Maxwell next spring (clearing his $10MM cap charge), the club may not have that option given the uncertainty surrounding Lippett’s health.
  • Reporters peppered Bills linebacker Reggie Ragland with questions on Tuesday about whether he’s a trade candidate, according to Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. As one would expect, Ragland suggested that he’s not worried about rumors and noted that he’s “got to keep getting better,” though it’s nonetheless an open question as to whether he’s a fit in the Bills’ defense. The Bills chose Ragland in the second round of the 2016 draft after a costly trade up, but he missed his rookie season with a torn ACL and is now under the thumb of a new administration in Buffalo. The Doug WhaleyRex Ryan duo responsible for the Ragland pick is gone, as is the Bills’ previous 3-4 scheme. Ragland has languished in a third-team role in Buffalo’s 4-3 alignment this preseason under Ryan’s replacement, McDermott, leading Pro Football Rumors’ Dallas Robinson to observe last week that the ex-Alabama star could be in another uniform soon.
  • Bengals cornerback Adam Jonesone-game suspension is now official, ESPN’s Field Yates tweets. The 33-year-old’s ban, which the league handed down in July, came after he was charged with three misdemeanors and a felony stemming from a January arrest. Jones was able to avoid jail time and a lengthy suspension after pleading guilty to a lesser offense. He’ll miss the Bengals’ season opener against AFC North rival Baltimore.

Dallas Robinson and Connor Byrne contributed to this post.

AFC North Notes: Bengals, Steelers, Browns

When the NFL handed Bengals cornerback Adam Jones a one-game suspension last week, it appeared he would fight the ban. That won’t be the case, though, Jones announced Thursday. “You know, I take all accountability for what I did and my actions and my words. I accept it — the one game suspension — and I’m ready to move on, man,” Jones told reporters, including Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The 33-year-old’s suspension came after he was charged with three misdemeanors and a felony, though he was able to avoid jail time after pleading guilty to a lesser offense.

More from Cincinnati’s division…

  • Although the league conditionally reinstated Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant from a year-plus suspension in April, it still hasn’t cleared him to participate in training camp. General manager Kevin Colbert addressed the situation Thursday, stating: “Upon his conditional reinstatement in April, Martavis Bryant was made aware it was only the beginning of a process toward a return to being a full contributing member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. We have been informed by the NFL that Martavis is still in the process of being fully reinstated. Until that time, Martavis will be permitted to take part in off-the-field team activities at training camp, but he will not be permitted to practice or play in any games.”
  • As expected, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell did not show up at training camp Thursday, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com was among those to report. The franchise-tagged star has not signed his $12.12MM tender, meaning he’s under no obligation to attend camp. Bell could follow in the footsteps of Chiefs safety Eric Berry and not report until the regular season is on the verge of beginning. That’s what Berry did last summer when he was unhappy with the fact that he had to play the season under the tag in lieu of a multiyear contract.
  • Browns wide receiver Ricardo Louis has hired super-agent Drew Rosenhaus to represent him, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com (Twitter link). As a fourth-round rookie last year, Louis started in three of 16 appearances and logged 18 catches for 205 yards. With three years left on his rookie deal and unspectacular production to date, a pay raise isn’t imminent for Louis.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFL Suspends Bengals CB Adam Jones

Bengals cornerback Adam Jones has been suspended for one game for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Jones pled guilty to obstruction of official business stemming from a January 2017 incident.

Jones will appeal the ruling, according to a source who spoke with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter). Meanwhile, agent Peter Schaffer tells Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link) that Jones has not yet reached a decision on whether to appeal."<strong

Initially, Jones was charged with three misdemeanors and a felony after an ugly string of incidents. The cornerback allegedly assaulted a man by “pushing and poking” him in the eye in a late-night argument. Then, he refused to stop when ordered to by police and he refused to enter the cop car as he kicked and head-butted officers. Then, when he arrived at jail, he allegedly spit on a nurse, resulting in the felony charge. Despite all of that, Jones was sentenced only to time served, which amounted to two days in jail.

The Bengals anticipated this result and are glad to finally put the matter behind us,” the team said in a statement. “Our focus is getting ready for the upcoming season. Adam will participate in training camp and we are counting on him to help our team when he returns from suspension.”

Jones will be out of action for the season opener against the Ravens on Sept. 10. He’ll be eligible to return for Week 2 against the Texans.

All things considered, the one-game ban isn’t a bad outcome for Jones given his history and the severity of allegations from earlier this year. In Week 1, the Bengals will rely a little more on Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard, and William Jackson III to keep opposing receivers in check. Losing Jones isn’t ideal, but a team could do a lot worse than trotting out three former first-round picks at corner.

The 33-year-old saw his production slip a bit in 2016, grading as only the league’s No. 37 cornerback, per Pro Football Focus. In 2015, PFF had him ranked as the NFL’s 15th best corner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals CB Adam Jones Enters Guilty Plea

On Tuesday, Bengals cornerback Adam Jones pleaded guilty to obstructing official business in an incident that took place in early January. Meanwhile, the judge dismissed more serious charges against the player formerly known as Pacman, meaning that he will avoid serious jail time. Adam Jones

[RELATED: Bengals Sign First-Round Pick John Ross]

I truly apologize for what I did, my actions. I’m trying to get better every day,” Jones said (Twitter link via Terry Helmer of WCPO).

Initially, Jones was charged with three misdemeanors and a felony after a late-night dustup. The cornerback allegedly assaulted a man by “pushing and poking” him in the eye. Then, he refused to stop when ordered to and he refused to enter the cop car as he kicked and head-butted officers. Then, when he arrived at jail, he allegedly spit on a nurse, which landed him the felony charge of “harassment of a member of the medical staff in the justice center with a bodily substance.” Despite all of that, Jones was sentenced only to time served, which amounted to two days in jail.

Jones is pretty much in the clear when it comes to legal ramifications, but it seems likely that he will face discipline from the league office. Bengals GM Mike Brown indicated back in March that the team will stand by the embattled veteran.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Owner Stands Behind Adam Jones

Although cornerback Adam Jones was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors and a felony (the latter of which was later dropped) earlier this year, Bengals owner/general manager Mike Brown is standing behind the 10-year pro, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Based on Brown’s comments, it sounds exceedingly unlikely the Bengals will part ways with Jones this offseason.Adam Jones

“It’s a bigger picture than one incident,” said Brown. “And I get to be the one that sits in the chair to decide [Jones’ fate]. So I have chosen to decide it the way I am deciding it. I’m going to give him a chance. I hope it comes out right for him, for his family and for us. I know there are critics. I understand. But that is a full answer.

“I’m not condoning his actions. They were in all honesty embarrassing. He was out of control. He misbehaved. He made a fool of himself. No one knows that more than he does…He knows full well what he has done to himself. He regrets it. But it’s been made into a public issue and maybe I am overly tolerant. If so, so be it.”

Jones has a history of off-field incidents here, but it’s only fair to note that — until recently — Jones had stayed out of trouble for a good amount of time. But his most recent incident, which included an alleged assault, disorderly conduct, and an extremely unbecoming encounter while in police custody, was especially disturbing, and the Bengals understandably hadn’t made a decision on Jones’ future with the club as of late January.

Now, Jones figures to return to Cincinnati as a starting corner opposite the recently re-signed Dre Kirkpatrick. Jones, 33, posted a down season in 2016, grading as only the league’s No. 37 cornerback, per Pro Football Focus. But most of the Bengals’ cornerback unit is inexperienced, so Jones will add a veteran presence to a group that includes Darqueze Dennard, Josh Shaw, and Willam Jackson III. Jones will count for $8.167MM on Cincinnati’s salary cap in 2017

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jets, Bengals, Raiders, Fins, Colts

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson took to Instagram in an effort to combat a recent report that he’s “terribly out of shape” (via Connor Hughes of NJ.com). “They say I’m fat and out of shape?” Wilkerson said while running on a treadmill. “Haha. Keep sleeping on me. I’m telling you.” It seems the scout who assessed Wilkerson’s conditioning was exaggerating, as photos (links here) the 27-year-old posted on Instagram earlier this month shoot down the idea that he’s in poor shape. Still, though, Wilkerson is coming off a disappointing 2016 – the first season of a five-year, $86MM contract – and could end up a cap casualty as early as next offseason if he doesn’t bounce back. Wilkerson notched 4.5 sacks last year (down from 12 in 2015) and ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 15th-worst qualified edge defender (109 qualifiers).

More from the AFC:

  • Bengals cornerback Adam Jones is no longer facing a felony charge over a January confrontation with hotel security guards, police and a nurse, reports Lisa Cornwell of the Associated Press. The felony charge resulted from Jones’ alleged “harassment of a member of the medical staff in the justice center with a bodily substance.” Specifically, Jones was accused of spitting on a nurse at the jail. If found guilty, he could have gone to jail for six to 12 months. Jones is still up against three misdemeanor charges, including assault, and the Bengals aren’t sure if they’re going to retain him.
  • One of Jones’ Bengals teammates, reserve quarterback A.J. McCarron, wouldn’t mind a trade out of Cincinnati. But Andy Dalton‘s backup isn’t going to cause problems if the Bengals don’t deal him to a starter-needy team. On the possibility of once again reporting to camp in a No. 2 role, McCarron told Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer: “It’d be tough at first. Like, because I know I’m having to go through the whole backup process again. But at the same time, that’s my job. I need to be the best backup quarterback in the league and I’m going to go there and work my [butt] off to prove that and show that I am so that they’re proud, as an organization, to sit back and say at practice if they’re watching ‘like man, I’m glad we had that guy as our backup.’ I still want to make everybody proud.” McCarron, though, expects to end up a starter sometime. “Whether it’s this year or when I’m a free agent, I think somebody’s going to take a chance on me to be a starter,” said McCarron, who’s under Bengals control for two more years.
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf reached out to commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday night about continuing the discussion to keep the Raiders, a source tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (on Twitter). There has been no significant progress on that front, however. Despite Schaaf’s efforts, it appears the Raiders’ departure from Oakland is inevitable.
  • Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso‘s three-year extension adds an even $25MM to the $3.91MM he’ll earn in 2017, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The $28.91MM deal includes $16MM in fully guaranteed money for Alonso, who’s now slated to remain with the Dolphins through the 2020 season.
  • Wide receiver Kamar Aiken‘s one-year pact with the Colts is worth $2.6MM – $1.5MM of which is guaranteed – and features up to $600K in per-game roster bonuses, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Garoppolo, Ravens

Josh McCown, who was recently released by the Browns, would endorse the team trading for Jimmy Garoppolo, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes.

I’ve seen him on tape because we had a common opponent in Miami,” McCown said. “He made some high level throws and did some things that would get you excited about his ability to maybe carry a franchise. That’s definitely on the tape.”

Garoppolo, reportedly, is a leading target of the Browns’ front office this offseason. The 25-year-old made two starts while Tom Brady was suspended last season, completing 43 of 63 pass attempts for 502 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. That’s not a large sample size to go on, but execs around the league have been raving about the youngster for some time now.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

Bengals Undecided On Adam Jones Return

Adam Jones‘ recent arrest casts a shadow over his status with the 2017 Bengals. Despite the Bengals having signed the 33-year-old cornerback to a three-year deal last year, team sources told Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer a consensus about Jones’ status in Cincinnati next season hasn’t been determined.

The controversial corner signed a $22MM deal last March, but this event could end his time with the Bengals. Jones may face a suspension for his actions on Jan. 3, and the Bengals do not plan to finalize their decision on Jones returning until a review of all the information surrounding the case concludes, Owczarski reports. The team has yet to make any public comments, other than an apology on Jan. 23, but is considering a potential future without him.

Cutting Jones before June 1 would save the Bengals $6.8MM while costing them $1.3MM in 2017 dead money. Cincinnati’s employed Jones since 2010 and has Dre Kirkpatrick as an impending UFA. But the Bengals still employ two former first-round picks in Darqueze Dennard and William Jackson III. Jones and Kirkpatrick rated as the Bengals’ top corners in 2016 in the opinion of Pro Football Focus, with 2015 fourth-rounder Josh Shaw being tabbed as the team’s No. 3 most productive player there.

Jones faces a felony charge for harassment with a bodily substance, along with misdemeanor charges for assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing police. He will turn 34 in September.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.