My apologies for stealing your topic. My comment just got too long.
Now to the topic, I love that you brought it up. Jones may be my favorite player on the Jaguars roster. Ryan Robinson and I talked on twitter before the draft. I presented him this scenario: You are trapped in a dark alley. You fear for your life. What Jaguars football player (pre-draft 2010) would you want there to make you feel safe? His response, of course, was Greg Jones and I laughed because its exactly who I thought of.
Jones is devastating as a lead blocker. Your I-formation argument says it all. The passing attack is what has weakened us in the red-zone, and while we can run what I now dub a "Matt-Leinart-Offense" (dink and dunk and dont mess up, while not trying to make a play happen) to have many plays and run the clock down. It will not have the same affect (a or e?) on the opposing defense. The run game wears them out. Greg Jones makes them sub out for a breather.
Greg Jones is one of the reasons that the Jaguars are physically feared. It would be a mistake for the play of the 2009 season to not have Greg Jones on the roster. It would be a mistake for the Jaguars Defense to have to play against Greg Jones.
Now, let's put on an emotionally distant NFL GM hat. Not Gene, just any GM. We will focus on value and cost of paying the player. We look at replacements and the "QB draft of the decade" that will happen in 2011.
According to Rotoworld, here is G Jones salary: 2/13/2008: Signed a five-year, $17.4 million contract. The deal included a $2.5 million signing bonus and a $1.5 million roster bonus in the first year. Another $3 million is available through incentives. 2009: $2.48 million (+ $500,000 roster bonus), 2010: $3 million, 2011: $3.1 million, 2012: $3.4 million, 2013: Free Agent
That is a lot of money for a FB. I look at it as paying another lineman to help MJD burst through holes. This keeps him healthy for longer. Jones is elite. We can't say that about too many players, but in my opinion Jones is elite and MJD is elite and Jones protects MJD. Keep elite to further the career of another elite. Sounds like a deal I'd take.
But, as we all know, the Jaguars are in a small market. Salaries need to be cut when possible. Unfortunately for Jones, he does have a high salary. His birthday is in May. He is 29 years old. If you're going to trade him, you might as well do it in a year that you have a replacement (Bolen) that might not make it to the practice squad. You gather picks that would help you in the "QB Draft of the Decade" and you develop younger talent for the long run (once again, Bolen). The Patriots do something similar to this and they have been successful for years.
Another good aspect of Brock Bolen is that he is fearless (as Jones is) and he loves to initiate contact (as Jones is). So, we know that we are keeping the mentality.
It seems to me that trading Jones needs to happen now, or pre-draft. The problem is that in the pre-draft scenario, the Jaguars may not get as much value. There are teams that have problems on offense and could need him now.
Where would you trade him? I do not know teams and their fullback situations well enough to comment. Though, there are many teams that are now wanting to lean on the run due to inadequate passing. (AR, KC, NYJ, OAK, SEA, SF, TB and others). Maybe you could find a team that just wanted to upgrade. Or, maybe there is no market for a true FB. I read an article today that stated there was only one FB taken in the 2010 draft. Times have indeed changed. Lucky for him, he had a cool name--John Conner, why the J-E-T-S call him "Terminator" I can't figure. Conner killed the Terminators.
Back to the roster, we know Jones is expensive and we know Owens isn't getting cut because of how well his play is on Special Teams.
Here is Owens salary, if you're curious: 1/21/2009: Signed a four-year, $4.20 million contract. The deal included a $1 million signing bonus. 2009: $535,000, 2010: $715,000, 2011: $950,000, 2012: $1 million, 2013: Free Agent
Here is Bolens salary: 12/14/2009: Signed a multi-year contract. 2010: $395,000, 2011: $480,000, 2012: Free Agent
Here is my opinion: For the immediate future, Greg Jones' departure would be a mistake. For the long-term, it would be a great personnel move full of foresight, IF and only IF the correct value was received for Jones. Jones means too much to this team both tangibly and intangibly to get rid of just to save cap room in an uncapped year or to get rid of just to get a player that would be depth. A 5th round pick would even be disappointing, but it may very well be the reality of the position. You would think that at the very least, the Raiders would be intereseted. Right?
What do you guys think?
I can't talk about Greg Jones without playing this video. I hope you haven't seen it, because it'll give you something to talk about with your friends.