New York Jets Free Agent Target – James Jones

Joe Caporoso with a breakdown of free agent wide receiver James Jones. Should the Jets pursue him?

Previously at Turn On The Jets we have taken a closer look at wide receiver Golden Tate and Emmanuel Sanders. Today, we are going to look at another intriguing potential addition: James Jones of the Green Bay Packers. 

Player: James Jones, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers

Experience: 7 years (2007 3rd round pick)

Size/Speed: 6 foot 1, 208 pounds. 4.59 forty yard dash in 2007.

Career Stats:

  • 2007: 16 games. 47 receptions, 80 targets, 676 yards, 14.4 YPC, 2 TDs.
  • 2008: 10 games. 20 receptions, 30 targets, 274 yards, 13.7 YPC, 1 TD.
  • 2009: 16 games. 32 receptions, 63 targets, 440 yards. 13.8 YPC, 5 TDs.
  • 2010: 16 games. 50 receptions, 87 targets, 670 yards, 13.6 YPC, 5 TDs.
  • 2011: 16 games, 38 receptions, 55 targets, 635 yards, 16.7 YPC, 7 TDs
  • 2012: 16 games, 64 receptions, 98 targets, 784 yards, 12.3 YPC, 14 TDs
  • 2013: 16 games, 59 receptions, 93 targets, 817 yards, 13.8 YPC, 3 TDs.

Strengths: Jones has good size and is a fundamentally strong receiver, who runs solid routes and shows an ability to get open against a variety of defenses. He has a knack for making big plays, with nine receptions of 30 yards or longer over the past two seasons. However, most of his production comes on passes that are less than 10 yards. Even before his monster 2012 campaign, Jones had a nose for the endzone in ratio to his number of targets, 24 touchdowns over the past three years is nothing to ignore. Jones remained relatively productive this season in the games that Aaron Rodgers missed. He had four games off 55 receiving yards or more without Rodgers under center. Jones attacks the football and does well on contested catches, using his size to his advantage.

Negatives: Despite improving in recent years, Jones has issues with dropping the football. Prior to the 2012 season, he had the second worst drop rate in the NFL. The problem reared its ugly head in the playoffs this year against the 49ers when Jones failed to come down with a handful of difficult but catchable balls. Jones isn’t a burner and lacks the speed of a traditional deep threat. He has spent his entire career with an elite quarterback and surrounded by other talented receivers opposite of him. It is fair to question how he would produce in an offense that is more run heavy, is led by quarterback going through growing pains and doesn’t have established threats opposite of him at receiver and tight end. Jones missed two games with a knee injury last season and struggled to get separation when he returned from the injury.

Overall: Jones is probably going to get somewhere around 4-5 million dollars per year and is an intriguing option for the Jets. In this writer’s opinion, he is a better receiver than Emmanuel Sanders but he does have the disadvantage of being 3 years older than him. Jones would immediately step into the Jets starting lineup and provide a credible, competent threat predominantly at split end and bring a big play element that the offense has sorely been lacking. The drops and knee injury are concerning but Jones is a proven, productive player and outside of Golden Tate, is arguably the top addition the Jets can make at the position.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • kc.

    HIM and TATE are the ONLY Wr’s we should add in free agency and draft one obviously in the first TWO rounds. Off Topic: as far as free agent Qb’s go,if its not Vick,it SHOULD be Sanchez.

  • kc.

    p.s…..and DRAFT a QB at SOME point also!

  • Harold

    He only got 3 years 10 million when he was a F/A agent last time.

    He is three years older now.

    He will likely be between 3 to 3.5 million.

    I doubt he cracks 4 million APY.

  • Steve Windeler

    If you want to say they are the only WRs we should target for 3 mil or more, then I agree. I think we should bring in a plethora of low priced guys with potential(guys that can be cut). Then draft another plethora, and let them fight it out in camp. If we leave ourselves with no options again I’ll be very disappointed.

  • KAsh

    After this review of Jones, I would not want him. He has just one season with more than 800 yards receiving. Contrary to the touchdown threat you paint him as, he has only one season with double digit touchdowns. Realistically, Jones gains about 700 yards and scores 5-7 TDs in an average season. The improvement in his hands has translated from catching around 58% of all targeted passes to catching 63% of his targeted passes. And Jones compiled all these stats playing with an elite quarterback.

    Without Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Green Bay offense, Jones’s performance in any of these elements can drop significantly. Unfortunately, he set the bar so low that they cannot fall much further. And combined with Jones’s age, I would not want to give him anything but a very short-term contract. It is too big a risk that Jones will just not perform as a starting receiver.

  • Steve Windeler

    He’s only listed as dropping one pass against SF. Are you really saying he dropped 5 balls? He caught 59 balls and only dropped 2 for the year.

  • Great read and I agree that if we don’t get Golden he is our second best option.

  • subzero2401


    I’d love to see you guys break down Andre Roberts and offer your thoughts on him as a potential fit for the Jets. Seems as though he could be a fit in conjunction with a guy like Golden Tate.

  • Joe Caporoso

    SubZero – Actually, Roberts will be the next player we look at, good call!

    Steve – I never said he dropped 5 balls. I said he dropped a handful, which was off my memory of the game and then confirmed by his end of the season report card over at Packer Report, which charted him with 3 drops. I could see PFF only “counting” one because all three were tough catches but still balls you’d like to see him come down with.

    KaSh – To be fair, 700 yards and 5-7 TDs would have made him our leading WR the past two seasons so I couldn’t downplay those stats. Outside of his monster 2012 seasons, catching 7 TDs on 55 targets in 2011 is an impressive ratio and honestly even the 5 on 63 targets in 2009 is impressive. I’m not saying he is Cris Carter but he has generally been a guy who can find the endzone at an encouraging rate.

    Harold – He may end up with only 3 – 3.5 per year, we have to see how the rest of the market shakes out. However, it is worth remembering since that last contract he added a season with 14 TDs to his resume, the salary cap has increased and the pay FA WRs are paid this offseason could vary from the last time they were paid when he was a FA, so it wouldn’t shocking to see him crack 4 APY.

  • KAsh


    I know that, except he was on a team that scored 25 passing TDs in 2013, 40 in 2012, 51 in 2011, and 31 in 2010. Jones’s high TD rate could have been due to getting most targets in the red zone, while 2012 was the only year his TD contributions to the team made up a significant portion of the team’s total. If you average the two years around 2012, Jones scores slightly over 13% of his team’s passing TDs, which would translate to less than two on the 2013 Jets. A banged-up Holmes would have eclipsed him.

  • Anthony

    We have a run heavy offense that will try to be a balanced attack. We don’t need Julio Jones, we need to have a credible offense. We will have an elite defense. I am absolutely fine with that model of a team. Dudes that can catch the ball are incredibly necessary.