Thanks for the memoriesMarch 1, 2010
According to numerous reports, the Jets are set to release running back Thomas Jones after both parties refused to rework Jones’ contract for the 2010 season.
Jones, 31, was set to make $2.8 million in base salary next season and was reportedly asked to take a pay cut. Despite rushing for a career-high 1,402 yards last season, TJ was expected to be the back-up to rookie sensation Shonn Green for the 2010 season. Also factoring in to the Jets decision was the return of Leon Washington to the backfield.
Thomas Jones was a horse and viewed as one of the leaders in the Jet lockeroom. He was the one that gave the fiery speech to the team during halftime of the eventual Jet victory over San Diego in the divisional round of the playoffs. TJ was also a mentor to both Shonn Greene and Leon Washington. Nonetheless, Jones is not getting any younger, and was plagued by leg injuries during the final weeks of the season and all throughout the playoffs.
In his first year with the Jets in 2007, TJ struggled behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. He scored just one touchdown and averaged a putrid 3.6 yards per carry.
2008 was a complete 180 for the work-horse, as Jones erased the memories of ’07, silenced any doubters, and amassed over 1,300 yards and scored a combined 15 touchdowns.
I will always be thankful for Thomas Jones, as his tremendous work-ethic rubbed off on the entire Jets team. Never once did he complain when some of his carries went to Leon Washington and/or Shonn Greene, nor did he bitch and moan about Mike Tannenbaum refusing to give him a pay raise after the 2008 season.
Jones exemplified every quality of a winner, and I will never forget what he meant to the Jets organization. He was the best back Gang Green has seen since Curtis Martin, and he made the days of Kevin Barlow and Cedric Houston a distant memory.
I can only hope moving forward that Shonn Greene has even half of your grit and determination to do whatever it takes to be the best and help the team win football games. You led by example, and played your heart out every Sunday.
Unfortunately, this is the business end of football and I can’t be mad at either Thomas Jones or the Jets for where they stand regarding this contract. TJ has certainly reached his peak, and this is what happens when a running back shows any hint of slowing down in the NFL.
I am unsure where Tannenbaum and the rest of the front office will go now. Despite Greene’s breakout rookie season, and the return of Washington, the Jets need another back. Certainly Shonn Greene showed that he has a tremendous future ahead of him, but he is still an unknown in terms of being a featured back. Furthermore, Leon Washington is coming off a compound fracture so who knows if he will ever be 100% again.
There are options available — LT, Westbrook, trading for Marion Barber — but none of those choices excite me. LT could be finished, and Brian Westbrook is a concussion waiting to happen.
Marion Barber would be a great addition, but at what price? I realize the Cowboys have other options at running back, but you have to expect Jerry Jones will not just give Barber away.
The Jets only have three picks in the upcoming draft and have too many other needs to waste a pick on a back.
It will be certainly be interesting to see how New York addresses this situation, and whether or not they trust Greene and Washington to defend the Jets rushing title in 2010.
Nevertheless, something will be missing in 2010 without the bruiser in the backfield.