Matt Jones’ troubled career with the Jacksonville Jaguars is apparently over with several reports indicating the team will release their former 1st round selection. A poor work ethic, conflict with head coach Jack Del Rio and a 2008 arrest for drug possession weren’t enough for the Jaguars to part with Jones but apparently a second arrest, this time for violating terms of his plea agreement, pushed the team over the edge.
New general manager Gene Smith has indicated that character will be much more of a focus in terms of personnel decisions and this was his first major test in this area. The club chose not to re-sign left tackle Khalif Barnes due to on and off the field issues and also jettisoned problem child wide receiver Jerry Porter despite the salary cap consequences of releasing a major free agent signing only one year into their contract.
However, with Porter off the roster and the team also not offering a contract to free agent receiver Reggie Williams, the team was dangerously thin at wide receiver prior to Jones’ release. Clearly, Smith felt a message had to be delivered even at the expense of the team’s depth at wide receiver.
Fantasy Football Impact
The current projected starters at wide receiver are now Dennis Northcutt and Mike Walker and the top reserve is Troy Williamson. Northcutt is best when used in the slot and would be a quality third receiver on a team with a solid passing attack. Walker has upside but has yet to make his mark, although he did post a 100-yard game last season. Williamson was a bust with the Vikings and only posted five receptions for 30 yards in his first season in Jacksonville.
Look for the team to address the position in the draft. Although they could take a wide receiver with the 8th pick in the draft, that seems unlikely. They will likely also attempt to acquire a veteran receiver and recently released Torry Holt would provide quality veteran leadership and decent production. With the Tennessee Titans also interested in Holt, it would shape up as an interesting AFC South dynamic if the Jaguars also showed interest in the former Ram.
Finally, quality fantasy football quarterbacks always have at least one talented wide receiver and the Jaguars do not currently have a potential 1,000 yard receiver on the roster or a quality receiving tight end for that matter. This doesn’t bode well for David Garrard. And running games are much easier to stop when defenses don’t have to be concerned with a team’s weapons at wide receiver so this development also hurts Maurice Jones-Drew’s prospects for 2009 as well.