As pointed out in FanShots earlier today, two wide receivers hit the open market today, for all intents and purposes. The Washington Redskins released Jabar Gaffney, while the Houston Texans waived Jacoby Jones. Our Redskins affiliate talked about the productive season that Gaffney had in 2011:
Jabar was an integral part of the Redskins passing offense, compiling 68 receptions, 948 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Including this awesome touchdown catch vs. Minnesota.
What is the downside to Gaffney? First, he is 31 years old. A veteran receiver can be a young quarterback's best friend; we saw that with Joe Jurevicius several years ago. However, the current front office has made a point to not sign very many veteran players, especially at the receiver position. I don't think they would ignore the receiver position in free agnecy and only take one receiver in the draft, just to go out and suddenly sign Gaffney. For being a veteran, Gaffney also had some morale and personal issues last year that wouldn't seem to mesh well with the current roster.
Jones, on the other hand, is a slightly more intriguing target to me. I still believe some of the reasons for not signing Gaffney (i.e. the fact that they did not sign one before the draft) also apply to Jones. In reading through the "goodbye" thread at our Texans affiliate, the fans seemed to have a very similar attitude toward Jones as many here had toward former Browns receiver Dennis Northcutt: while they liked him, they can't forgive him for dropping the ball in a critical playoff game. If you recall, Jones muffed a punt against the Ravens, costing Houston a shot at advancing further in the playoffs, and fans have not really forgiven him since.
Jones offers the advantage of being a good return man. He's fast, and is about 3-4 years younger than Gaffney. The issue with Jones? Besides the fact that he is a few inches taller, I would view him as playing a similar role to Travis Benjamin, the rookie just drafted by the Browns in round four. I don't think the front office will bring in Jones to take away from the rookie's playing time.
What do you think? Should the Browns sign Gaffney or Jones?