Year in and year out, the Cincinnati Bengals do a great job of keeping their top players.
Whether it's extending players' current deals or letting them test the market before matching the best offer, you rarely see great players leave Cincinnati to sign bigger deals elsewhere. While some solid guys like Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu did get away this offseason, Cincy made sure to re-sign their other top free agents once that occurred.
After getting George Iloka's deal done, the Bengals quickly worked to get Adam Jones re-signed. The Pro Bowl corner was a star this past season and easily the team's best cornerback. For his efforts, Jones was given a three-year deal worth $22 million, per Over The Cap:
While that may seem like a large contract for a player in his 30s, you must realize that the cap hit for cutting him in the final two years is very small. In fact, the Bengals hold a team option for the 2018 season that if they don't pick up, Jones will be a free agent in 2018.
So it's possible this ends up being a two-year, $15-million deal. There's also annual bonuses of $200,000 Jones can earn, so it would behoove him to come to Cincinnati for offseason workouts and allow the Bengals to see where he's at each season going forward.
Jones' career with the Bengals is one of redemption and defiance of father time as he's continued to improve almost every year. Say what you will about Jones' history of bad decisions or questionable attitude, but you can't deny he's been one of the NFL's better cornerbacks over the past four seasons.
But 2015 was the first time in Jones' 11-year (9 season) career that he made the Pro Bowl, and it came after he had arguably his best season as a pro. Appearing in 14 games this season, Jones was the Bengals' No. 1 corner and someone who routinely locked down opposing receivers on the boundary.
He was a big reason why the Bengals ranked fourth in passing yards allowed per pass attempt (6.6), ranked fifth in opponent passer rating (78.9) and allowed the second-fewest touchdown passes (18). Jones also racked up 62 total tackles, 12 pass deflections and three interceptions in 2015.
All of this is why Jones is now getting paid handsomely for the rest of his career in Cincinnati. Some might argue a 32-year-old corner shouldn't have that much money and that many years committed to him, but I'll argue for it on two points:
1. Jones was one of the NFL's best corners from beginning to end in 2015 while never showing signs of wearing down. He played well enough to expect he'll play at a high level for at least one more season.
2. Jones was vastly underpaid for essentially all of his career in Cincinnati based on the impact he had on the team. In eight seasons with the Bengals, Jones earned an average of just over $1 million. Consider this new deal as repayment for all those years he was playing like a $5-8 million player while making about $1 million.