The Green Bay Packers will reportedly have quite a bit of competition if they plan to re-sign inside linebacker Brad Jones.
Although he could be posturing, agent Josh Wright says eight teams have contacted him about Jones since the free agency negotiating window opened Friday night.
That doesn’t bode well for the Packers chances of keeping Jones, who started 10 games at inside linebacker after both Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith were lost to season-ending injuries.
Realistically, if Jones does indeed have that many suitors, the Packers probably have zero chance of keeping him. Another team will likely be willing to give Jones a starting spot. In Green Bay, he’ll have to battle for playing time with Bishop, Smith and maybe even the completely lackluster A.J. Hawk.
In addition, the Packers have a considerable amount invested in Bishop (a $4.7 million cap hit this season and $4.8 million in 2014) and, unfortunately, Hawk (a $7 million-plus cap hit in each of the next three seasons). That makes it unlikely they’d pay Jones starter money. And with the other financial considerations they have — contract extensions for key players, restricted free agents, draft picks and other areas of weakness to shore up — the Packers probably couldn’t afford to pay Jones starter money if they wanted to.
That’s not good news. The Packers can use all the help they can get at inside linebacker. Other than Hawk being terrible, there’s no guarantee Bishop or Smith will return to form post-injury. With Jones, at least the Packers know they have someone who can fill the position adequately.
Jones was a three-down player in 2012 and finished with 77 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.