Adam Jones says he's staying with Bengals

He's not a starter. He's not a free agent from another team. But the re-signing of cornerback Adam Jones is an important one for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jones tweeted Thursday morning that he is staying with Cincinnati: "Happy to say this morning that i agreed to a three year deal with the Bengals Stand up WHODEY!!!!!"

Jones, 29, provides reliable depth in the secondary and explosiveness in the return game. It's been quite a turnaround for Jones, and it's not all about changing his troublesome image.

Last year at this time, Jones was still being criticized for allowing a critical touchdown pass in a playoff loss in Houston. But he became the Bengals' best cover corner last season, according to Pro Football Focus' grading system. In mainly a supporting role, Jones allowed quarterbacks to complete 54.5 percent of their passes against him. He also broke up 11 passes, which was tied for second on the team.

The Bengals can't rely on Jones to be a full-time starter, which is why the Bengals need to re-sign Terence Newman or develop Dre Kirkpatrick into one this season. Jones failed to intercept a pass for a second straight season and has durability issues.

Cincinnati should use Jones more as a returner this year, especially if it can't bring in someone like Ted Ginn. The Bengals stuck with Brandon Tate instead of giving more chances to Jones., who brought back a punt 81 yards for a touchdown against Cleveland.

The Bengals' priority remains re-signing offensive tackle Andre Smith, who has drawn little interest in free agency.