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Jones agrees to deal with Bengals
Former Razorback did not play last season, was cut from Jaguars after off-the-field issues
CINCINNATI CINCINNATI (AP) — Troubled receiver Matt Jones (Arkansas Razorbacks) agreed to a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday, said a source familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because no contract has been signed.
The 26-year-old receiver would be the latest player to try to revive his career in Cincinnati after repeated problems with the law. Jones didn’t play in the NFL last year, after Jacksonville released him because of his off-field issues.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that his one-year deal would pay him approximately $700,000. It’s a low-risk agreement similar to the one that brought running back Larry Johnson to Cincinnati for the last half of last season. The team’s Web site also said he had reached a contract agreement.
The Bengals also have shown an interest in often-suspended cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, who worked out for the team on Thursday. Jones also sat out last season after being released by the Cowboys, failing to land a job in the CFL.
The Bengals don’t comment on free agents until they have signed deals.
Cincinnati’s priority in the offseason is improving a passing game that ranked 26th in the league despite a full season from quarterback Carson Palmer. The Bengals lost T.J. Houshmandzadeh as a free agent after the 2008 season, and tried to replace him with Laveranues Coles, who struggled to catch on. Receiver Chris Henry broke his arm and later died after a fall from a truck during a domestic dispute.
Matt Jones was Jacksonville’s first-round pick in 2005, but he started only five games in his first three seasons. His best season was in 2008, when he had 65 catches for 761 yards. He also was arrested and charged with cocaine possession in July of that year.
In a plea agreement, Jones was ordered to participate in a league-sponsored program that provides substance abuse counseling. He also had to undergo random drug tests. The league suspended him for the final three games of the season for violating its substance abuse policy.
The Jaguars waived him last March after he was jailed for violating his plea agreement. Jones failed an alcohol screening, and told a judge he drank beer while golfing with friends.