Just got done reading an interesting post on troubled free agent receiver Matt Jones, who I’ve always been enamored with, over on FanHouse. Here’s a snippet:
But here’s what those worrisome tidbits are hiding: whichever NFL team finally takes a chance on Jones will be locking in a guy capable of putting up 1,000-plus yards and 10 touchdowns — this season.
It’s easy enough for a guy like Jones to say he’s ready to make amends for past mistakes, yet entirely different to go out and do it. Jones has spent the months since his brief prison stay trying to make his words ring true.
According to a recent article by Michael C. Wright of the Florida Times-Union, Jones has spent nearly $15,000 of his own money to train this summer at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. — going through an extensive daily routine of physical and mental exercises. In addition to that, he’s done community service of his own accord, going beyond what was required in the sentence that followed his probation misstep. He also recently completed a drug treatment program successfully.
“Before, when he had been in [the program], he hung his head and it sort of seemed like he was ashamed to be here,” Washington County (Ark.) deputy prosecuting attorney Lisa Dennis told the Times-Union. “But when he got into trouble that last time, we noticed a real big change in him. He was accepting of responsibility. It’s almost as if he grew up, finally.”
Jones displays that apparent newfound maturity in his interview with Wright, where he said, “I definitely look at this positively. You’re probably right [about getting into trouble becoming] a blessing. … I’m just sorry for making these mistakes and how everything turned out. I let down my family, friends and people close to me, my teammates.”
I guess the question NFL teams are asking now is how much of this to believe.
And representatives of those teams have every right to raise an eyebrow in my direction when I say this: I believe all of it.
Jones a low-risk, high-reward guy at this point, because signing him wouldn’t cost much. If we were to bring him in, we could give him a one-strike rule. Eff up again and you are toast. I’m pretty sure Jones already knows that will be the case wherever he signs at this point. Plus, we have the money. You know we have the money.
I had him on my longest-running fantasy team last year, so I watched him extensively. Despite being part of a putrid passing attack, he was impressive in Jacksonville. Additionally, he hasn’t been a receiver for that long. He’s still got room to improve in several areas.
Due to his height and athleticism, Jones would help fill the redzone void left by Tony Gonzalez, while Bobby Engram will likely somewhat fill in for Tony G as the third down security blanket. Beyond that, Jones has the potential to be this year’s Antonio Bryant. I still believe he has first-round talent. Matt Cassel could really use another talented receiver, and we now have the vets in place to keep an eye on him. I’m sticking to my guns here and saying he’s still worth it. Apparently, the folks over at FanHouse agree.