CINCINNATI -- I thought the Bengals should have parted ways with Adam "Pacman" Jones back when the charges came to light. The video tape only reinforces that.
What Jones said on the tape is vile and vulgar. It’s a public relations nightmare for the club. How are Cincinnati cops going to feel about working games if the club brings Jones back?
But the Bengals aren’t in the public relations business. We’ve been reminded of that through the years. Say what you will about Mike Brown, but you have to admit he’s never done anything to win the Talk Radio Wars.
And he likely won’t in this case. If he and Marvin Lewis think Jones is salvageable, they’ll bring him back.
Watch the video below (WARNING! Contains vulgar language):
But there’s another factor here: Football. That’s the business the Bengals are in. And you can make a pretty strong argument that it makes sense from a football standpoint to move on from Jones.
He’s 33 years old, past the prime for cornerbacks. He’s coming off an average year. The team’s other cornerback, Dre Kirkpatrick, is a free agent. Jones is due to make $7.66 million this year in salary and bonuses. That money would be better spent on Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick is younger, and his play was roughly equal to Jones' in 2016. Pro Football Focus rated Jones at 77.7 and Kirkpatrick at 74.7. At 27, Kirkpatrick is likely to get better. Jones is likely to continue to decline.
A lot of Jones' value was as a kick returner. That was barely part of his game in '16. He returned 10 punts for a 5.1-yard average (less than half his career mark). He returned four kickoffs for a 19.8-yard average (7 yards short of his career average).
PRIOR COLUMN: This should end Jones' career
There is also the matter of Jones’ on-the-field missteps. He’s clearly a guy who gets out of control every once in a while. He had personal foul penalties in both Pittsburgh games. When one of your veteran leaders does that, it seems to give the young players permission to do the same.
It’s hard to say what the Bengals will do. They condemned Jones' behavior once the tape was released. I would not be shocked to see him back. The club is famous for second and third chances. The statement from his lawyer indicates Jones is going to address his anger issues.
But he’s been through that before.
I’ve spent a lot more time covering the Reds than the Bengals. I know if Jones did this as a Red, he would be a former Red by now.
The Reds, of course, are much more concerned about PR than the Bengals.
But, again, in this case, parting with Jones makes as much sense from a football standpoint as a PR standpoint.
That gives the Bengals an easy one.
John Fay is a freelance sports columnist; this column represents his opinion. Contact him at email@example.com.