The Chargers signed Jacoby Jones, 30, to a two-year, $5.5 million contract on Friday. Jones was one of just two players last season to rank in the top-10 in both kickoff returns and punt returns, duties he will take over from Chris Davis and Eddie Royal, respectively. His kickoff return average (30.6 yards) ranked second in the NFL in 2014.
Jones has always demonstrated a knack for making big plays, including a 108-yard score on a kickoff return against the Steelers last season. He was even more clutch two seasons prior, when he scored two touchdowns in Baltimore's Super Bowl win over San Francisco (one on a kickoff return, the other on a 56-yard catch-and-run). Three weeks before that Super Bowl showing, he was the hero of the Divisional Round when he hauled in a 70-yard touchdown catch in the final minute of the Ravens' road win over the heavily favored Broncos.
Denver can now relive that nightmare twice per season in its division games against the Chargers.
"One of our offseason goals was to improve our special teams, specifically upgrading our return game," Telesco said. "We feel Jacoby brings a dynamic aspect to our kick and punt returns that we need, and he also has solid experience playing wide receiver."
Jones figures to see minimal time on offense, especially if the Chargers re-sign Eddie Royal. Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd and Dontrelle Inman will all rank ahead of him on the offensive depth chart. That's a good thing, too, as Jones' hands have been Quentin Jammer-esque at times (he dropped five passes last season).
But this signing was not about adding offense; it was about making sure the offense a shorter distance to traverse when it takes the field. And Jones' explosiveness as a kick returner can certainly provide that.
The Chargers released LB Reggie Walker on Friday, saving approximately $1 million in salary cap space. The versatile Walker had a big year in 2013 -- finishing with 36 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble -- but saw his role on defense greatly reduced last season. He battled an ankle injury and struggled to make an impact, recording just a dozen tackles.
What are Chargers fans saying about Jones' addition? Find out in the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com team. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 18 years and covered the team since '03. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.
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