Earlier today WGR550 published a report that the Buffalo Bills and pending restricted free agent Donald Jones were discussing a contract extension that would keep the receiver in Buffalo; a report picked up by several media outlets, including this one.
Things got quite contradictory by late Thursday afternoon when the Bills announced that not only was there no extension, but won’t even tender Jones before the March 4 deadline.
A statement from the Bills read:
“The Buffalo Bills today announced that the team will not tender Donald Jones, making the wide receiver available when the NFL free agency period begins on March 12th.
Bills General Manager Buddy Nix said, “We have made the decision not to re-sign Donald. We’re going in a different direction and this move today gives Donald the opportunity to catch on with another team early on in the process. We thank him for his years with our organization and wish him the best in the future.”
Jones thanked his fans on Twitter, writing “Thanks for everything #billsmafia.My three years there was great I learned a lot.I had great times with my teammates. Met a lot of great ppl and now it’s time for me and my family to move forward.”
Today’s events more/less blows up any report that Jones and the Bills were in negotiation talks. If that were the case and even if the sides were miles apart, the Bills couldn’t simply tendered him and saw how things played out if another team made him an offer.
What this tells me is that Doug Marrone and his coaching staff have evaluated their current personnel and begun making roster decisions. Clearly they concluded that Jones being in the mix at wide receiver wasn’t part of the solution to turning things around.
I’m at least moderately surprised by the way this unfolded. The Bills don’t have a lot behind Stevie Johnson by way of pass catchers and two key players, Scott Chandler and David Nelson will be coming off major knee injuries. Nelson is also a pending restricted free agent.
Trust me, this won’t be the last move you see in the coming days.