EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have announced the free-agent signing of veteran wide receiver James Jones. The news is hardly a surprise as it was first reported Thursday evening. As the New York Mets found out this week, however, nothing is ever official until, well, it's official. And Jones is now officially a Giant.
The Giants had earlier cleared a roster space for the 31-year-old Jones by waiving/injured wide receiver Ben Edwards. An undrafted free agent, Edwards impressed in the spring but suffered a hamstring injury at the end of minicamp.
Jones has 383 career receptions, more than anyone on the Giants roster, in eight seasons. He spent the first seven of those seasons with the Green Bay Packers, and played last season with the Oakland Raiders. He caught a career-high 73 passes last season, but averaged a career-low 9.1 yards per catch. Jones, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, has at least 50 receptions in four of the past five seasons. Jones was in Green Bay when Ben McAdoo, Giants offensive coordinator, was an assistant there.
"I remember the great year he had, and then last year he caught a number of balls, he led the Oakland team," coach Tom Coughlin said. "He's a veteran receiver, outstanding hands, been in this system, knows the system well, should fit in well, and should compete. ... You're always looking for competition and he certainly will provide it."
Where does he fit?
Jones' pedigree guarantees him nothing, even if he did turn down other suitors like the Philadelphia Eagles to rejoin McAdoo with the Giants. The Giants had an available roster spot with the injury to Edwards, and filled it with the best available player. And one who should have little trouble learning the offense, since much of it is what McAdoo brought with him from Green Bay.
The signing of Jones certainly does not impact the Giants' Big Three of Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle. It may provide an additional hedge against injury, especially since Jones has been a reliable pro for a long time and is a player McAdoo is comfortable with.
Among the remaining wide receivers in camp, Dwayne Harris is a lock to make the 53-man roster. His return skills, all-around special teams play and the $7.1 million the Giants guaranteed him this offseason assure that. Perhaps, though, Jones is a threat to Harris as the team's fourth wide receiver. That is a role Harris has been hoping to fill, and a player whose 73 catches last season are more than double the 33 catches Harris has in his career would be a threat there.
Jones, who has 43 touchdown catches in his career, is a possession type receiver who could be a red zone threat. He becomes a legitimate threat to guys like Corey Washington, Preston Parker and Geremy Davis, all of whom are competing for what are likely to be two spots on the 53-man roster.
Who ultimately gets them? Who knows. The competition, however, certainly just got a lot more interesting.