Just when you think the last chapter is written, the author finds a new quill. Quite a number of players we’ve virtually forgotten about were suddenly very active on the opening day of training camp, with the likes of Shamarko Thomas signing new contracts. Even Mike Mitchell got a workout, his first since he was released in March.
Yet another player seemingly left for dead was veteran cornerback Adam Jones, who saw his 2017 season end with an injury. The Cincinnati Bengals subsequently released him, or more accurately declined his option for 2018, making the 34-year-old a free agent. He was due a substantial sum, and the Bengals saved about $6 million in cap space.
But he may not have played his last down. The oft-troubled yet talented defensive back is still in Ohio, scheduled to visit with the Cleveland Browns today. Cleveland hasn’t been shy about giving opportunities to veteran defensive backs such as Donte Whitner and Jason McCourty in recent years.
Browns are trying out Bengals’ free-agent CB Adam Jones on Friday, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 26, 2018
Last season, Jones only played in nine games due to multiple injuries, and a one-game suspension that began the season. In those nine games, he recorded 23 tackles with one interception and four passes defensed.
Though originally drafted by the Tennessee Titans all the way back in 2005, he has spent the bulk of his career with the Bengals, playing for Cincinnati over the past eight seasons. He has been a primary starter for most of that time, but he had to earn the role. From 2013 to 2015, he recorded three interceptions and at least 11 passes defensed in each year.
Part of the reason the Bengals were ready to move on was because of the emergence of second-year cornerback William Jackson III in 2017, who was a first-round pick the year before, only to spend his rookie season on injured reserve.
Jackson impressed quite a bit during his playing time, including two games in which he held Antonio Brown without a reception (in his coverage) while recording a handful of passes defensed in the process. He is expected to take over a full-time job this year opposite Dre Kirkpatrick, with Darqueze Dennard in the slot. All three are former first-round draft picks from over the past seven years for Cincinnati.
The Browns could have an opening for Jones in the defensive backfield. While they expect Denzel Ward to take over one starting job this year as the fourth-overall pick, the other additions that they have made, or players that they have carried over, are not sure-fire starters.
Cleveland brought in T.J. Carrie, Terrance Mitchell, and E.J. Gaines in free agency at the position. They also bring back Brien Boddy-Calhoun from last season, a former undrafted free agent entering his third year. Jones, if signed, could compete to start against this group.