Adam Jones, the veteran and often controversial cornerback and special teams returner for the Cincinnati Bengals, said the team would not pick up his contract option for the 2018 season.
Jones told Bengals.com, Marvin Lewis would still like to bring him back as part of the defense’s nickel package and as a returner. The team can begin talking to free agents Monday.
“Of course I’d love to come back,” Jones said. “Don’t make it sound like I’m ready to get out of there because I’m not. I’m very thankful to everyone there - Coach Lewis, Mr. (Mike) Brown. I’d love the chance to get on the field and compete every play and on every down, but I have to sit down and think the next couple days with my family.”
The 35-year-old Jones was due to make $5.3 million next season. Bengals.com reported two fellow cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard are going to combine for $18 million, meaning the team had salary cap issues to address.
Jones was a standout at West Virginia before the Tennessee Titans drafted him with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft. He played two years with the Titans, where four interceptions and four returns for touchdowns in two years; but he was having continuous problems off the field and with the law. he was suspended for the entire 2007 season.
Despite continual issues while suspended, he played one year in Dallas before being signed by the Bengals. He dropped the “Pacman” nickname and eventually reached his potential. He was named a first-team All Pro in 2014 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015.
Prior to 2017, Jones played 16 regular season games four out of five years. He was banged up last year and missed the last four games of the season and only played in nine total.