Jacoby Jones is scheduled to make $4 million this year and his cap figure is $4.9 million. He receives his first $1 million for 2013 if he is on the Ravens roster come September 5.
Some might argue and with good reason, that the Ravens are looking to bolster their receiving corps so why would the team consider releasing the player who some thought should have been Super Bowl XLVII MVP.
Ever wonder if there was more to that failed conditioning test back in July?
During OTA’s and a few times since, offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has stated his intention to take the top off of defenses. That implies that with speed, the Ravens plan to stretch zone defenses to the point that it leaves them vulnerable to short and intermediate areas of the field.
But is part of that speed worth $4.9M of the team’s cap?
During practice and during the preseason so far we’ve seen several other players take reps in the return game, both punt and kick. Conventional thinking might suggest that special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg already knows what he has in Jones so why not see what the others can bring?
That seems reasonable.
But what if the Ravens are really trying to see if someone can competently handle the return duties without having to pay such a specialist $4M? What if the Ravens conclude that they could get 80% of Jacoby’s production from Bobby Rainey and/or Deonte Thompson for 20% (or less) of the cost?
Thompson’s speed can match that of Jones so that doesn’t take away from Caldwell’s desire to take the top off defenses. It shouldn’t be that difficult to replace 30 catches for 406 yards and a score (Jones 2012 receiving numbers) should it?
Now it’s unlikely that the Ravens would make such a move unless a receiver better than Jones drops in their lap, say by way of an aborted fax. But it’s possible.
And even if that doesn’t happen, might the Ravens have reason to go to Jones and ask him to take a pay cut, particularly if Jerry Rosburg is pleased with what he sees from others in the return game?
Clearly the valuable cap dollars could be used elsewhere, to bolster the roster with players discarded by other teams, hold the dollars in reserve for in-season moves or carry them forward into 2014.
The Ravens parted ways with a valuable player (Anquan Boldin) who they deemed unworthy of a $6 million salary – right player, wrong price.
Don’t be shocked if Jacoby Jones flunks this equation too.