James Jones

James Jones Announces Retirement

James Jones did not play last season, and the longtime Packers wide receiver does not plan to suit up again. Jones announced his retirement on Wednesday, via PitchEngine.com.

The 33-year-old Jones played nine NFL seasons — eight with the Packers — prior to being released by the Chargers in August 2016. A Green Bay third-round pick in 2007, Jones started in 72 games and played in 13 playoff contests as an auxiliary pass-catcher on Brett Favre- and Aaron Rodgers-fronted offenses.

I have truly been blessed to have worked with such wonderful people throughout my career,” Jones said. “I would personally like to thank the entire Packers Organization, Packer Nation and particularly Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and (longtime Packers scout) Sammy Seal. I would also like to thank the Raiders Organization, my agents at Sun West Sports, Frank Bauer and Kenny Chapman, and everyone who believed in my talents which allowed me to continue playing the sport I love.”

Although he played a role in the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV championship, Jones put together his best season in 2012, leading the NFL with 14 touchdown receptions. The former San Jose State prospect caught 51 touchdown passes in his career — including eight in a 2015 reunion with the Packers.

The career supporting-caster recorded at least 600 receiving yards in seven of his nine seasons and surpassed 800 twice — in 2013 and ’15. Jones also averaged at least 16 yards per catch in two seasons, with the final Green Bay campaign appearing in that category as well. The Bolts signed Jones early in their final San Diego training camp but released him just before the season.

Jones said he’s accepted a position with the NFL Network

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Release James Jones

8:16pm: The Chargers have confirmed the move.

7:25pm: For the second year in a row, James Jones will be without a team as final cutdowns approach, as the veteran wide receiver has been released by the Chargers, a source tells Annie Heilbrun (Twitter link).James Jones

Jones, 32, sat on the free agent market until earlier this month, when he agreed to a one-year, minimum salary benefit deal with San Diego after fellow receiver Stevie Johnson was lost for the season. However, given that he signed so late in camp, Jones was never able to get comfortable with the Chargers’ offense, tweets Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Moreover, Jones figured to play behind Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, and possibly Dontrelle Inman on San Diego’s depth chart.

Jones led the Packers in 2015 with 890 receiving yards off of 50 receptions. He also led Green Bay’s wide receivers with eight touchdowns. That was a different stat line than 2014, a year in which he corralled a career-high 73 receptions for just 666 yards and six touchdowns for the Raiders.

In other Chargers news, the club has claimed running back Gus Johnson off waivers from the Falcons, according to James Palmer of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Lynch, Hillman, Childress

The quarterback battle rages on in Denver, as Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak hasn’t yet named a starter for the club’s third preseason game, tweets James Palmer of NFL.com. And while Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian have been viewed as the only competitors for the No. 1 job, Paxton Lynch is still a candidate for the starting role. “He’s always been in the mix,” Kubiak told the media, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk“I just told you guys that he’s behind the other two from a knowledge standpoint, but we’ve been out there competing every day. Everybody is in competition to play.”

Let’s take a look at more out the Mile High City and the rest of the AFC West:

  • Kubiak said last week that running back Ronnie Hillman is in a “hell of a battle” with Devontae Booker and Kapri Bibbs and intimated that Hillman might not make the Broncos‘ roster, and Mike Klis of 9NEWS has taken that sentiment a step further, writing that it’d be a “surprise” if Hillman is with Denver come Week 1. Denver has already handed Hillman $600K through a signing bonus and workout bonuses, but Hillman’s $1.4MM base salary is non-guaranteed, and it doesn’t appear the Broncos are likely to pay it.
  • The Broncos may need to scour the free agent market for an addition at offensive guard, according to Klis. Darron Weems looked like he was going to be the club’s starter on the right side, but he suffered a concussion during Saturday’s preseason game. Ty Sambrailo is also dealing with an injury of his own, while rookie Connor McGovern isn’t ready to play immediately. One option for Denver might be Ravens lineman Ryan Jensen, per Klis, though it’s unclear whether the 9NEWS scribe is reporting or simply speculating.
  • Veteran wide receiver James Jones is likely to make the Chargers‘ final roster thanks to his ability to play both in the slot and outside, writes Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com. San Diego is dealing with several minor injuries among its receiving corps, so the club might be forced to keep more pass-catchers on its roster than it normally would. The only downside with Jones is that he doesn’t play on special teams, which could force to keep another receiver active on gamedays simply to play teams.
  • Brad Childress was ready to retire after last season, but the longtime NFL coach had a change of heart after being promoted to Chiefs co-offensive coordinator, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Childress was also a candidate to join former Kansas City coach Doug Pederson as the Eagles’ play-caller, but Andy Reid bumped Childress up to OC, where he’ll team with Matt Nagy and run the Chiefs’ offense.

Chargers Sign James Jones

5:04pm: The signing is now official, and the Chargers have waived/injured wide receiver Jamaal Jones to create a roster spot, tweets Eric Williams of ESPN.com

2:58pm: The Chargers have agreed to sign James Jones, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Jones met with the Chargers on Tuesday morning and San Diego apparently liked what they saw from him. "<strong

[RELATED: Impact Rookies — San Diego Chargers]

Jones led the Packers in 2015 with 890 receiving yards off of 50 receptions. He also led Green Bay’s wide receivers with eight touchdowns. That was a different stat line than 2014, a year in which he corralled a career-high 73 receptions for just 666 yards and six touchdowns for the Raiders.

As Stevie Johnson deals with a knee injury, the Chargers are looking for an experienced fill-in to help round out their group of receivers and Jones could be that guy. As shown on Roster Resource, Johnson is slated to work behind Keenan Allen and offseason pickup Travis Benjamin in the club’s wideout pecking order, but an ACL issue has put his season in jeopardy. The Bolts – who also have Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, Javontee Herndon, Torrence Allen, and Isaiah Burse on the depth chart – are waiting on a second opinion to see if Johnson will be able to suit up this year. In his first year with the Bolts, Johnson battled injuries and posted respectable production in 10 games, racking up 45 catches on 65 targets for 497 yards and three touchdowns.

The Chargers also worked out Brian Hartline and Lance Moore on Tuesday, but it sounds like they might not have a need for either player now that Jones is in the fold.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Working Out WRs

12:58pm: In addition to Jones and Hartline, the Chargers are also working out Lance Moore, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Moore hooked on with the Lions last year and hauled in 29 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns. In the year prior, he was used sparingly as a member of the Steelers. Moore spent the 2006-2013 with the Saints, where he was often a key contributor in their offense.

9:36am: The Chargers are hosting veteran wide receiver James Jones on a visit today, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). San Diego will also work out Brian Hartline, Rapoport adds (Twitter link). "<strong

[RELATED: Latest On Chargers, Joey Bosa]

As Stevie Johnson deals with a knee injury, the Chargers are looking for an experienced fill-in to help round out their group of receivers. As shown on Roster Resource, Johnson is slated to work behind Keenan Allen and offseason pickup Travis Benjamin in the club’s wideout pecking order, but an ACL issue has put his season in jeopardy. The Bolts also have Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, Javontee Herndon, Torrence Allen, and Isaiah Burse on the depth chart, though none of those players offer a resume like that of Jones or Hartline. In his first year with the Bolts, Johnson battled injuries and posted respectable production in 10 games, racking up 45 catches on 65 targets for 497 yards and three touchdowns."<strong

In June, Jones said that he would “love” to join the 49ers, though he acknowledged that he was not in a position to be choosy. Jones led the Packers in 2015 with 890 receiving yards off of 50 receptions. He also led Green Bay’s wide receivers with eight touchdowns. That was a different stat line than 2014, a year in which he corralled a career-high 73 receptions for just 666 yards and six touchdowns for the Raiders.

Hartline, 29, suffered a broken collarbone during a December win over the 49ers and immediately underwent surgery to correct the issue. This offseason, the Browns released him. The local product, who played his college ball at Ohio State, finished his first and only season in Cleveland with 46 catches, 523 yards, and a pair of touchdowns. There hasn’t been much interest in Hartline since he was cut loose in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Packers, Baldwin, Cousins, Bears

Veteran wideout James Jones was surprised when the Packers notified him that he wouldn’t be back in 2016. As ESPN.com’s Jason Wilde writes, the receiver expected to return to Green Bay even despite the talented receiving corps.

“I wasn’t mad that they didn’t bring me back, but I was surprised,” the wideout said. Me and Mike [McCarthy] had a very good conversation at the end of the year after we had lost to Arizona and I kind of felt like, ‘OK, cool, I’m going to be back.’ Whether it’s [a] one-year [deal], whether it’s two years, I felt like Mike was going to bring me back. But he didn’t.”

While Jones isn’t rooting for any of his former teammates to get injured, he acknowledged that he’d gladly return to the team should the need arise.

Let’s check out some more notes from the NFL…

  • The recent extension for receiver Keenan Allen could indicate the “floor” for Seahawks wideout Doug Baldwin, tweets Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
  • Kirk Cousins said there’s been no progress on an extension with the Redskins, tweets Tarik El-Bashir of CSN MidAtlantic. With about a month left to come to an agreement, the signal-caller told writers to “stay tuned.”
  • Former Redskins fullback Darrel Young will be participating in the Bears minicamp, tweets Mike Jones of The Washington Post. The six-year veteran has 13 career touchdowns, and the 29-year-old has never missed more than three games in a season.

James Jones Would “Love” To Join 49ers

Wide receiver James Jones is still without employment here in the month of June, but he has an idea of where he would like to wind up. In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Jones suggested that he wants to get a phone call from the 49ers. James Jones

[RELATED: Best Available NFL Free Agents: Offense]

I’m right here in San Francisco, in the Niners’ backyard,” Jones said (via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com). “You know what I mean? I’d love to stay here at home and play for the Niners – don’t have to move my family or any of that stuff. My kids get to stay in school. But, at the same time, I’m just ready to play. I’ll play wherever. I’m just ready to get it on.”

Jones, now 32, has indicated that he’d like to play for awhile longer, though the Packers have reportedly moved on. The wide receiver says he has heard from some teams that have told him they like him, but he has yet to receive a contract offer. That comes as a surprise to Jones after he ranked fourth in the league with 17.8 yards per reception in 2015.

The veteran says that he wants to play somewhere where he can win, but he also understands that beggars can’t be choosers. Ultimately, Jones’ goal is to “play 12 years” in the league. Last year marked Jones’ ninth season in the NFL.

Jones led the Packers in 2015 with 890 receiving yards off of 50 receptions. He also led Green Bay’s wide receivers with eight touchdowns. That was a different stat line than 2014, a year in which he corralled a career-high 73 receptions for just 666 yards and six touchdowns for the Raiders.

Recently, we ranked Jones as one of the top ten best available offensive free agents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Best Available NFL Free Agents: Offense

The most high-profile free agent signings occurred more than two months ago, but as we near June there are still talented NFL free agents available on the open market. Most of these players (with a few exceptions) won’t command much guaranteed money, and given that we’ve passed the May 12 deadline, none will factor into the compensatory draft pick formula. Let’s take a look at the players who will try to find a home as training camp approaches:"<strong

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB: The most obvious destination for Fitzpatrick remains the Jets, who don’t intend to play second-round pick Christian Hackenberg immediately but, as of the draft, hadn’t had meaningful talks with Fitz’s camp in awhile. The 33-year-old Fitzpatrick has apparently told people he’d “rather not play football” in 2016 than accept New York’s current offer, though that seems like a negotiating ploy to get the Jets to put more than $7-8MM on the table. Gang Green holds all the leverage in this scenario, as the only other club that might have still been searching for a quarterback — the Broncos — is thought to have ended their hunt for another signal-caller after drafting Paxton Lynch last month.

2. Anquan Boldin, WR: Even as he ages, Boldin continues to post solid production — he’s managed at least 65 receptions in each of the past four years, averaging nearly 1,000 yards and five touchdowns during that time. And while the 49ers have not asked him to return in 2016, Boldin could be an option for a number of wide receiver-needy teams, as the Bengals, Steelers, Colts, Chiefs, and Giants could all make varying levels of sense for the veteran pass-catcher, especially given that he’s indicated he’d prefer to play for a contender. Boldin has taken just one free agent visit this offseason, but that team — Washington — is unlikely to still have interest given that it selected TCU wideout Josh Doctson in the first round of the draft.

3. Arian Foster, RB: There’s no question that Foster offers the highest upside of any free agent on this list, as he’s topped 1,200 yards rushing in every season that he’s remained even remotely healthy. But health, of course, has remained a hindrance throughout Foster’s career — in 2015 alone, Foster was slowed by a groin injury during camp before suffering a torn Achilles in in Week 7. The Dolphins met with Foster earlier this offseason and could still be a landing spot, while the Raiders, Eagles, and Chargers (especially if Melvin Gordon‘s recovery from microfracture surgery doesn’t go well) could be options.

4. Jahri Evans, G: Knee and ankle injuries limited Evans to 11 games in 2015, but like Foster, Evans is a solid contributor when he’s on the field, as he graded as the league’s No. 27 guard among 81 qualifiers last year, per Pro Football Focus. Entering his age-33 season, Evans might have to be willing to engage in a camp battle for a starting role, or even wait until a club suffers an injury along its offensive interior. But a team like the Broncos, who are currently projected to start sixth-round rookie Connor McGovern at right guard, could express interest.

5. Louis Vasquez, G: Vasquez isn’t quite the guard that Evans is, but he offers a vast amount of experience, as he played over 1,000 snaps in 2015 with Denver, and has started 101 games since entering the league in 2009. Not yet 30 years old, Vasquez could help a number of clubs at either guard position — he met with the Titans earlier this offseason, and depending on its assessment of Jeremiah Poutasi, Tennessee may still be interested. The Chiefs, having failed to replace Jeff Allen, could also make sense as a destination."<strong

6. Andre Johnson, WR: After posting the worst full-season results of his career, Johnson was released by the Colts just one season into a three-year pact. Whether interested clubs will determine that Johnson was victimized by a lackluster 2015 Indianapolis (and largely Andrew Luck-less) offense — or instead conclude that Johnson is just about finished at age-34 — is an open question, but the 13-year veteran has indicated that he’d like to continue playing in 2016.

7. Will Beatty, T: Beatty is expected to be fully healthy this summer after missing the entire 2015 season with a torn pectoral muscle, but he reportedly won’t be returning to the Giants. It’s a little surprising that Beatty hasn’t yet found a home for 2016, but he shouldn’t have to wait much longer, as he’s clearly the best tackle available on the open market (his top competition is the likes of Jake Long and Mike Adams). I could see the Bears bringing in Beatty to compete with Charles Leno on the blindside, while the Cardinals could also be a feasible landing spot if they aren’t happy with D.J. Humphries — who didn’t play a single snap as a rookie — at right tackle.

8. James Jones, WR: Another season catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, another successful year for Jones, who returned to Green Bay after a year in Oakland to post 50 receptions for nearly 900 yards an eight touchdowns. Jones, now 32, has indicated that he’d like to play for awhile longer, though the Packers have reportedly moved on. After waiting until July of last year to sign with the Giants (and September to reunite with the Pack), Jones could again have to wait awhile to find a new team, but whoever signs him will be acquiring a big-play threat — in 2015, Jones ranked fourth in the league with 17.8 yards per reception.

9. Ryan Wendell, C/G: Perhaps the least recognizable name on this list, Wendell spent the last seven seasons as a utility interior lineman with the Patriots, and ended up starting 44 contests from 2012-2014. A knee injury prematurely ended Wendell’s 2015 season in November, and a March report stated that Wendell would wait until he returned to full health before signing with a new team. A return to New England can’t be ruled out, but a club like the Cardinals — who are currently projecting A.Q. Shipley to start at center — could also be on Wendell’s radar.

10. Owen Daniels, TE: Daniels has spent all ten of his NFL seasons under the tutelage of Gary Kubiak, following the coach from Houston to Baltimore and, finally, to Denver. That streak of loyalty is now in danger after the Broncos released Daniels earlier this year, though Kubiak did not rule out re-signing the veteran tight end (Denver has since signed fellow TE Garrett Graham, however). Even at age-33, Daniels performed in line with his career averages, posting 48 receptions for more than 500 yards and four touchdowns.

Honorable mention: Tarvaris Jackson, QB; Joique Bell, RB; Bryce Brown, RB; Marques Colston, WR; Brian Hartline, WR; Roddy White, WR; Khaled Holmes, C; Amini Silatolu, G.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: Ravens, V. Davis, Fitzpatrick, Jets

The Ravens remain in the market for pass rushing help, but when asked today about Greg Hardy, head coach John Harbaugh replied, “Greg Hardy? He won’t be a Raven, I can tell you that” (Twitter link via Todd Archer of ESPN.com). Harbaugh also said that free agent linebacker Courtney Upshaw is still on the team’s radar, but Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun tweets that Upshaw’s return sounds unlikely.

Here are a few more updates related to free agency:

  • GM Scot McCloughan confirmed today that Washington still has interest in free agent tight end Vernon Davis, who paid a visit to D.C. earlier in March (Twitter link via Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com). In fact, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) suggests that Washington has made Davis a contract offer, in the hopes of pairing him with Jordan Reed and giving Kirk Cousins an additional weapon in the passing game.
  • Although there’s still a significant gap between the Jets‘ offer and Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s asking price, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes that the “Wild Wild West stare-down narrative has been exaggerated.” A source tells Mehta that the two sides have had an open line of communication in recent weeks.
  • Packers head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that Green Bay is moving on from free agent wideout James Jones, says Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Jones’ agent said as much on Monday.
  • Before he re-signed with the Cardinals, running back Chris Johnson was believed to be deciding between Arizona and Miami. However, Johnson tells Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that the Patriots also had interest in him.
  • Colts owner Jim Irsay said today that the team will continue to meet with free agents this week, but Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star cautions (via Twitter) that the team won’t be making any major moves.

FA Rumors: J. Jones, A. Smith, Dansby, Randle

The Packers have informed Frank Bauer, the agent for wide receiver James Jones, that they don’t currently have interest in re-signing Jones, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “They’re going to go with the young guys,” Bauer said. Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, and Jared Abbrederis are expected to complement top targets Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in Green Bay.

Here are a few more free agent updates from across the NFL:

  • Asked about outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who will be suspended until at least mid-November, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie tells Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com that “conversations have been good.” Oakland – or another team – could sign Smith immediately, but McKenzie and the Raiders are more likely to be patient to ensure that the veteran pass rusher continues to make good off-field decisions.
  • Following his release last week, veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby suggested that he wouldn’t mind heading to Arizona, Cincinnati, or Green Bay. However, Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 in Arizona (Twitter link) hears that the Cardinals haven’t reached out to Dansby. The division-rival Seahawks have shown some interest though.
  • After paying a visit to the Jets last week, Saints RFA tight end Josh Hill is meeting with the Bears today, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). New Orleans would have the opportunity to match any offer sheet Hill signs with another team.
  • Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (Twitter link) hears that the Rams are unlikely to add wide receiver Rueben Randle to their roster, despite hosting him for a visit earlier in March.
  • Before he signed with the Broncos, free agent tackle Russell Okung drew interest from other teams on a traditional multiyear deal, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Okung was seeking $10-11MM per year though, which was too rich for clubs, given his injury history, says Pelissero.