FA Spotlight: James Jones and Brent Grimes

James Jones

Bio: Jones, set to turn 30 this offseason, was drafted by the Packers in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft. For most of his career, Jones has been a solid, if unspectacular player. He has never accumulated more than 64 catches in a season, and the 817 yards (in 14 games) he put up this season were a career best. However, the two best seasons of his career have come the past two years and you can't necessarily give all that credit to Aaron Rodgers being his quarterback since Rodgers basically missed 8 games this year.

Jets needs: Pending Santonio Holmes likely release along with the fact that Stephen Hill stinks, the Jets have no good WR's aside from Jeremy Kerley, and he is a #3 receiver. They desperately need anyone who can help, in particular, a guy who can step in and immediately be a #1 or 2 receiver.

Will he be re-signed: It's certainly possible. The Pack look like they will have a decent amount of cap room available and with Greg Jennings gone (and Randall Cobb having been injured for much of the year) they're not as deep at WR as they used to be. They may decide that to pony up and pay Jones, though with Jordy Nelson, Cobb and Jarrett Boykin around, they very well might decide that keeping Jones around is nothing more than a luxury and not worth the price.

How would he fit the Jets: He's definitely not the best in this FA class, so since the Jets need massive help at WR, they might want someone better than him. I don't think he's ready to step in and even remotely be a #1 type guy. That being said, Jones would definitely be a quality #2 guy and very much an upgrade over the slop the Jets currently have manning the WR position.

Why this would be a good move: Jones is an excellent at producing yards after the catch. This season he ranked 4th among WR's with at least 50 catches in YAC per reception (behind Golden Tate, Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon). This would be excellent for a guy like Geno Smith as someone like Jones can reliably help him out and pick up yardage that wouldn't ordinarily be so easy to pick up. Jones also actually had decent numbers ever after Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury, as he had 33 catches of 427 yards in Rodgers absence. Knowing that he can still produce fairly good stats without a top QB is important for a team like the Jets.

Why this would not be a good move: Jones is fairly inconsistent. Over the last 2 seasons, Jones has had 15 games in which he has produced less than 50 yards and has had 6 contests in which he couldn't even muster a paltry 20 yards. Jones has had only three 100 yard games in that span as well. He's probably a mid level #2 receiver and their are plenty of other guys on the FA market who may be better than him. With all the help that the Jets need at WR, going for a so-so talent in Jones may not be the best move.

Verdict: I think there are other, better, WR's in the FA market that the Jets should look at before they look at Jones. However, I would not be disappointed if the Jets sign him as he is clearly a big improvement over the players the Jets currently have.

Brent Grimes

Bio: Grimes, out of tiny Shippensburg University, was signed as undrafted FA by the Falcons in 2006. Grimes spent the first 6 years of his career playing for the Falcons, and made the Pro Bowl in 2010. Following the 2011 season, Grimes was set to hit free agency, but the Falcons preempted that by signing Grimes to the Franchise Tag. Alas, that didn't work out well for the Falcons as Grimes' 2012 season was cut short after one game due to a torn achilles. The Falcons let him walk and he was signed by the Fins this past offseason to a 1 year deal. Grimes was one of the best CB's in the NFL this season.

Jets needs: The Jets CB's were a big problem this season. Rex Ryan expects his CB's to perform out on an island and this year they were not up to the task. There is a very solid chance that current "top" corner, Antonio Cromartie, will be a cap casualty which would probably leave Dee Milliner as the nominal #1 choice. Milliner though had many struggles this year, and while he finished off strong and it is quite possible that he will turn it around, it might not be the best idea to give him the #1 job entering next year. Kyle Wilson performed relatively well this season but he is probably best suited as a nickelback / slot CB and not one to take the main job. In short, the Jets could use a #1 corner.

Will he be re-signed: Much like the Jets, the Dolphins should have loads of cap room this upcoming offseason, and based on the season Grimes just had, one would imagine they would want to keep him. The Fins though have quite a few big name players other than Grimes that they'll probably want to re-sign (Tyson Clabo, Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, Chris Clemons) so it's possible that they may focus on others.

How would he fit the Jets: He would be a really excellent fit. Prior to the 2012 season, PFF ranked Grimes as the best CB available in FA and said "he may very well be the best cover corner in the league after Revis". So, um, yeah....that's pretty darn good! In a Rex Ryan defense it's absolutely imperative that CB's be able to be excellent cover corners (not just good at playing zone) and having an elite level player like Grimes would be a HUGE boon to this defense.

Why this would be a good move: While PFF said Grimes was excellent following the 2011 season, that was 2 full seasons ago and he had a torn achilles in one could reasonably think that Grimes is possibly no longer playing at an elite level. That would be absolutely false, as PFF named Grimes to their All-Pro team as a starter (along with Revis) and said "we had some discussions here, though none when it came to Grimes". Grimes gave up zero TD's this year and had 18 pass breakups. He's truly an elite corner.

Why this would not be a good move: I can only think of 2 reasons: 1) Age - Grimes is currently older than Antonio Cromartie and as we saw with Cro, when a player's athleticism starts to slip, it can kind of get scary. Grimes is an elite athlete and any team hoping to sign him will have to hope he doesn't suddenly fall off a cliff athletically. 2) Price - if Grimes wants an enormous prohibitive contract, the Jets would be full well within their rights to not want that. Based on what's happened with Cro and Revis, I don't think that would necessarily be wrongheaded.

Verdict: Unless Grimes wants an insane deal, I'd LOVE for the Jets to sign him.

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