A complete and utter shock to me, the New York Jets will release running back Thomas Jones on Friday and let him test the free agent waters. Perhaps having had his best season in 2009, you have to wonder why the Jets would pull a move like this.
Stupidity? Possibly. Money concerns? Absolutely.
Said one anonymous Jets player:
“I can tell you, it’s not going to be a popular move in the locker room. 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.”
Of course the first thing to pop into my head is for the Bears to go out and sign TJ on Friday. If I remember correctly the Bears pulled the same stunt with TJ in 2007.
After the team’s most productive season since 1985, in which they made it to the Super Bowl and lost to the Colts, they go and drop their most productive offensive weapon in Jones and rest the future on an unproven (and failed) Cedric Benson.
More than that single season in 2006, Jones had been productive through some of the darkest days of the Bears franchise, playing under the likes of Jonathon Quinn, Craig Krenzel and Chad Hutchinson.
That enough warrants him praise.
Matt Forte, after struggling to produce nursing a knee injury throughout the season, wasn’t the same guy the Bears had seen in 2008. After offseason knee surgery it is imperative that Forte get back on track to lead the Bears ground game. Although with Mike Martz at the helm the Bears may be relying more on Jay Cutler’s arm than Forte’s legs.
The Bears are expected to let another quality, veteran back test free agency. Adrian Peterson (no, not that one), who has been a reliable backup for years, will explore the market come Friday.
Where is all of this stupidity coming from? First the Jets, now the Bears, releasing their quality, reliable running back is mind boggling to me.
Now the question becomes, who will step in to fill the shoes of one Adrian Peterson and back up one Matt Forte? Sources are saying that the Bears are targeting Chester Taylor, of the Minnesota Vikings, should he not re-sign. Taylor, like a Peterson or a Jones, has been a solid and quality back who is overshadowed by a, somewhat, big name starter.
With the Bears rumored to be targeting Julius Peppers, Aaron Kampman and Antre Rolle, free agency just got a lot more juicy.
So could Jones possibly be making a re-appearance with the Bears in 2010?
No idea, until March 5, of course. But I had to say it.