The Bengals will not be picking up Adam Jones' option for the 2018 season. It'll give them an extra $6.2 million in cap space. Here are a few thoughts on their decision:
I'm pleasantly surprised – This is an organization that paid Leon Hall $9 million to play cornerback in 2015. They're extremely loyal. I thought the Bengals might pick up Jones' option, but Geoff Hobson said it was a 50/50 proposition last week. He was one of three veteran players I thought the Bengals should move on from this offseason. Mike Brown's organization made the right decision.
Who does the extra money go to? – The Bengals need to upgrade the offensive line. Cameron Fleming, Chris Hubbard, Ryan Jensen and John Sullivan are all players that should be on their radar. Freeing up $6.2 million in cap space gives them the flexibility to land one of these lineman. Not overpaying a 35-year-old cornerback is one thing, but taking the extra money and applying it to other weaknesses is another. I'll be impressed – and shocked if they use the extra cash to sign a quality free agent from another team, but stranger things have happened.
What's next for Pacman? – I still think he returns to the Bengals in 2018. No one is going to offer Jones a big contract. Once he realizes that, he'll probably sign a $2-3 million deal with the Bengals. Jones would love to stay in Cincinnati.
“Of course I’d love to come back," Jones told Bengals.com. "Don’t make it sound like I’m ready to get out of there because I’m not,” Jones said Friday. “I’m very thankful to everyone there, Coach Lewis and Mr. (Mike) Brown. Of course, you know me. I’d love the chance to get on the field and compete every play, every down. Obviously I’ve got some things to sit down and think about the next couple of days with my family.”
Does this mean the Bengals will go after Richard Sherman? – Why would they do that? Sherman is coming off of a torn Achilles and will be 30-years-old at the end of this month. The Bengals have too much money tied up in the cornerback position as it is. Dre Kirkpatrick still has four years left on his five-year, $52.5 million contract. They could cut Kirkpatrick, but it would come with $5.6 million in dead cap space. The Bengals aren't doing that – most teams wouldn't. Darqueze Dennard is in the final year of his contract, but he's making over $8 million in 2018. Plus, William Jackson III is entering his third season and should be their number one corner. I'm all for improving the roster, but adding a 30-year-old cornerback coming off of a torn Achilles isn't getting this team any closer to the playoffs.
Where else could the Bengals use this money? – If they don't apply the extra money to the offensive line, maybe they'll look at upgrading the safety position. They talked with Kurt Coleman before he signed with New Orleans. Could they go after Tyrann Mathieu? Arizona is expected to release him if they don't find a trade partner. Mathieu is due $14 million in 2018. Lewis has made it known he wants the defense to force more turnovers. Mathieu could certainly help in that department. He would likely command $10-12 million per year, but they call him the 'Honey Badger' for a reason. I don't think adding Mathieu is likely, but if he gets cut, the Bengals should be one, of the many teams who have interest.
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