New York Daily News had the reactions of a player speaking on condition of anonymity
"I can tell you, it's not going to be a popular move in the locker room," said one player, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "We loved T.J. The man loved the game and put it all on the line only to get dumped after his best season. I think you should reward players for performance. You dump him but give Vernon (Gholston) another shot? Doesn't make sense."
I'm really not surprised to hear this at all. TJ was a popular man, he was also a hard worker a mentor, and just completed a 1400, 14 TD season on a $900,000 base salary.
Rex added to the argument:
"immediately became one of my guys. He had one of his best years last season - might have been his best. ... This is one of the tough decisions we had to make for our organization."
Which looks like code for 'This wasn't my decision, this was Mikes'. I know the arguments for letting TJ go, we don't have to go through them again, and this is a cut throat business....understood.
In a year with no salary cap, after a player has played even though the contract was not to his liking, who put up his most productive season (good offensive line or not) was a leader on the team, mentored the future with no complaints. Didn't talk about his contract situation all season, ran for the tough yards, got a beating every way he turned. Personally, and I'm just speaking for myself here, I would like to see a little bit of loyalty from the organization. Teams like to complain about player signing contracts and then not sticking to them, well teams are just as guilty as players.
Yes Jones is on the wrong side of 30, yes his yards per carry were nothing to write home about, and yes we have a back ready to take over. However if he goes down with another case of fumbilitius, or these nagging injuries. We could see our team turn one dimensional very quickly. It's playing with fire, and nobody can convince me otherwise, break out the stats, the age concerns, whatever you like, the repercussions on this decision don't stop with on field performance.
I can imagine there are a lot of unhappy people in that locker room, it's a business sure, repeat that to yourselves just to make sure you believe it. However when there comes a time, where we ask for loyalty from our players, and they don't give it to us, I really don't want to hear any complaints.
I wanted to say my piece, understand the business decision, however with a year where we don't have to get under the cap, Jones earned that contract bonus. Perhaps a lot of other backs could do it behind our line, perhaps Greene and Leon will stay healthy and it won't matter. Dumping a leader like this, that's not how you build a team, and the complaints have started. I won't be surprised to hear a few more.