James Jones holds out hope to return

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
6:45
PM ET
Receiver James Jones wore bright gold pants during a television appearance on NFL Network earlier this week.

Those might be the only gold pants he wears from now on.

The Green Bay Packers receiver is just a week away from hitting the open market as an unrestricted free agent. Like most, if not all, of the team’s 17 players in the same contractual situation, Jones does not have a deal in place to return to Green Bay.

In fact, indications on Tuesday were that all 17 of the Packers’ free agents to be could hit the open market.

“Priority No. 1 is just taking care of my family,” Jones said during his appearance. “Priority No. 2 is if I’m not able to go back to Green Bay, to find a good fit with a good quarterback, people that are trying to win and to be a part of that and help them win some ballgames.”

Jones’ last foray into free agency yielded little interest. However, that was coming out of the NFL lockout in the summer of 2011. He returned to the Packers for a three-year, $9.6 million deal. During that span, he posted career-highs with 64 catches and 14 touchdowns in 2012 and a career-best 817 yards last season, but he will turn 30 on March 31.

“It’s an exciting time for me and my family,” Jones said. “I would love to go back to Green Bay and play ball there. I love a lot of my teammates [and] playing with one of the best quarterbacks in the game. But we all know this is a business. This is the part that we all hate, but you’ve got to deal with it.”

The Packers’ other two top receivers -- Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson -- are only one year away from free agency and likely will be in line for extensions before that time. If Jones leaves, the Packers believe Jarrett Boykin could step into the No. 3 role. Last season, Boykin caught 49 passes for 681 yards and three touchdowns in his first season as a regular contributor.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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