Many of us presumed the Green Bay Packers were prepared to let receiver James Jones move on via free agency. I, for one, have been among those who wondered if the Packers would commit market-level money to a pass-catcher when Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley will all be on the roster in 2011.
Well, none of us asked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Appearing Tuesday on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee, Rodgers lobbied for Jones' return in the strongest terms imaginable.
"James is extremely talented and he's a guy that I think we need to bring back without a doubt," Rodgers said. "He should be priority No. 1 and I mean that with all my heart. He really should be priority No. 1. We don't win the Super Bowl without him and we need him."
Asked about Jones' well-documented drops last season, Rodgers said: "Physical mistakes can happen. Yeah, it's frustrating, but James made a ton of big plays for us [last] season and I think his best football is in front of him."
General manager Ted Thompson doesn't typically consult with players on such matters and Rodgers admitted his job isn't to make such decisions. But when the Super Bowl MVP speaks up forcefully on a personnel issue, it's worth listening to. If nothing else, we know Rodgers will be quite disappointed if Jones moves on.
There are a number of high quality receivers available, and the market has yet to develop. It's possible the Packers could wind up with Jones at a bargain price. We'll see.