The Pewter Plank free agency spotlight tour continues today with Christian Jones, a native of Florida and some potential depth for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at a position of strength.
NFL free agency is right around the corner and with it brings boundless excitement for fans around the league as they fantasize about elite players like Andrew Norwell or Trumaine Johnson joining their team. Star power is amplified by the free agency period as high-profile players take high-profile visits to teams around the league. While it’s easy to get caught up in the big names, free agency also serves another important purpose: building depth. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need both.
Football is a violent and crazy game that causes a lot of injuries and requires strong depth on the bench. Even if a team has a strong group of linebackers like Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David and Kendell Beckwith, it’s still important that team doesn’t rest on their laurels and ignore adding backups. That’s where today’s spotlight player, Christian Jones, comes into the picture. Let’s take a look at the career of Jones thus far, and see if he could be a fit in the Buccaneers’ linebacker room.
Christian Jones’ Career
Undrafted out of Florida State, linebacker Christian Jones played four seasons for the Chicago Bears. In that time Jones accumulated a total of 259 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble, and seven stuffs, mostly as a reserve player. At 6’3, 245 lbs Jones has the prototypical size for a punishing inside linebacker and certainly looks the part.
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The former Nole signed a one year contract for the 2017 season and had his most productive season yet. In sixteen games played and eleven starts, Jones collected a career high 90 combined tackles, along with two sacks, a forced fumble, and three stuffs, all tied for career highs as well. The 90 combined tackles led the Chicago Bears defense, which is quite impressive for a player that only started eleven games.
Why the Buccaneers Need Him
As I mentioned earlier, depth is paramount to success in the NFL. Injuries are as certain as the sun rise, and even the strength of a team needs to be layered with quality backups. That’s the case for the Buccaneers, who are loaded at linebacker but still need a few insurance policies on the bench. Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander and Kendell Beckwith make up one of the strongest linebacking crews in the entire NFL, but behind them the cupboard is bare. Riley Bullough and Devante Bond are useful players, but do you feel comfortable with either needing to start for a long period of time? Christian Jones has four years of quality experience and though the Buccaneers don’t necessarily need him, they could certainly use the depth.
What Will Jones Cost?
Christian Jones will not cost very much if the Buccaneers choose to kick the tires. The 27 year old linebacker will likely cost in the neighborhood of one to two million dollars a season on a team-friendly one year deal. This would be a drop in the bucket for the Buccaneers who are loaded with cap space.
Will It Happen?
It’s tough to say whether the Buccaneers will have interest in Christian Jones – his play hasn’t exactly warranted a ton of attention or teams chasing after his services. However, the Bucs do need to add some linebacker depth, and Jones is a Florida native, born near Orlando and schooled by Florida State. That could lead him to taking an offer from the Buccaneers if they choose to send one his way. For now we’ll call it unlikely because of how many other fish in the sea there are for the Bucs to pick from, but if they do show interest it wouldn’t surprise me to see Jones take the offer to play for his home town team.
So Buccaneer fans, what do you think about Christian Jones? Is he a depth addition that you’d be alright with? Or is there another linebacker out there you would prefer? Sound off in the comments and come back tomorrow to see a spotlight on Zach Line.