Be on the lookout for an occasional series we'll have on the Cincinnati Bengals blog called "Back in Bengals Time." It's a chance to look back at an event in Bengals history that took place on a specific day. We continue by going way back to a date this week six years ago ...
Monday, May 10, 2010
Bengals sign Adam Jones, giving him a long-term NFL home
Six years ago Tuesday, the Bengals signed cornerback Adam Jones to a two-year contract that has proven mutually beneficial to both parties.
In the years since, Jones has been to the Pro Bowl once, helped the Bengals to a franchise-record five-straight playoff appearances and signed three more contracts. The last of those deals came this March when Jones agreed to one worth three years and $22 million during free agency. From a dollars-per-year standpoint, it's the largest contract of his career. Although Jones thinks he has at least five good years of football left in his body, the 32-year-old has repeatedly called Cincinnati his new home. At this stage, he'd love nothing more than to finish his career in Bengals stripes.
"No one would've thought I'd be in this situation here if you had to write this book five or six years ago," Jones said in March. "I just have to do what I can handle, work out and take care of my body, doing the little things and don't forget how I got here."
He got to this point with a whole lot of patience.
Remember, the Bengals were taking a slight gamble signing Jones back in May of 2010 because of his rocky NFL road to that point. The former West Virginia standout was drafted sixth overall in 2005 by the Tennessee Titans but soon allowed off-field issues to steal his spotlight. An arrest and suspensions from both the NFL and the Titans dominated the headlines about him. In April 2008, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys. While there, he was suspended again for an off-field incident that happened before he got to Dallas. Then, when he was allowed to play, a neck injury derailed his hopes of closely following in the footsteps of his mentor and friend, former Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders.
At the end of that season, the Cowboys released Jones. It took him more than a year to get back to the NFL.
Even when he returned, thanks to the Bengals' 2010 contract, Jones had a challenging first couple of seasons. Another neck injury and a cornerback logjam made it difficult for him to shine. Once he finally got his chance, he didn't let go of it.
Jones wasn't the only patient one. Credit Bengals coach Marvin Lewis for believing the corner would eventually put all of his focus on honing his craft.
Just earlier this week, Pro Football Focus tabbed Jones as its 101st-best player in the NFL for the 2015 season. The site credited Jones with allowing a passer rating of 60.0 when he was targeted last season. That was the fifth-best mark among corners. He also only gave up one touchdown reception and didn't allow a catch longer than 24 yards.
As the Bengals move forward with a defense that for the past half-decade has been considered one of football's best, Jones remains a stalwart they have to be glad they have.