Jermaine Jones announced Sunday he is leaving the Colorado Rapids to play his luck on the MLS free agent market.
When the ref blew his whistle for the last time Sunday, the Colorado Rapids chances of shocking MLS officially ended. With the 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, 3-1 on aggregate, fans of the Rapids had absolutely nothing to be sad about on their 2016 campaign.
Their club outperformed most expectations for the season and gave hope that MLS is not completely run by the LA Galaxy and New York clubs. As much good as there was good for Colorado, there was also bad. Mainly, the lack of minutes USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones spent on the field.
Some will say his presence in the locker room was enough to instill that killer instinct on his fellow teammates. Fans of the New England Revolution will recall what kind of inspiration Jones is capable of producing. New England nearly captured their first MLS Cup back in 2014 thanks to Jones’ play, along with Lee Nguyen and others. When the hard-hitting midfielder showed up in Colorado, there was a strong pocket of people who believed he’d do the same again.
"“People know that I came to this league as a [designated player] and this is where I want to go back to.”"
Jones is looking to tackle his latest challenge, regaining a Designated Player contract on an MLS team. While with the Revolution, Jones made $3.05 million, a serious amount of cash compared to his $650,000 he made this season with the Rapids. Jones recently told the Denver Post “People know that I came to this league as a [designated player] and this is where I want to go back to.” Following up on that, Jones also said he’d consider a move back to Europe or even down to Mexico.
MLS has a poor history of overpaying players on the tail-end of their careers. Jones is a smart person, he likely hopes to play off that narrative at least once more. At 35, Jones is fighting consistent injury and father time. He played in just nine matches in MLS this season. He missed six games due to suspension, and four months due to a knee injury. Jones is not a top-flight midfielder anymore.
Jones is not the same crunching tackler and goal-scorer he once was. He’s made good money by going into New England and Colorado, firing up the locker room, then leaving. Jones has almost become the Tony Robbins of MLS. If Jones is that bent on making a lot of money, he could look into coaching either in MLS or Europe. His résumé would allow him at least one coaching contract.
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Minnesota United and Atlanta United both make their debut in MLS next year. The addition of a well-known, USMNT player, could instantly boost season ticket sales, merchandise, and overall popularity of their club instantly. Minnesota has not signed any notable players yet, making a move for Jones or another “older” popular player still very possible.
Bottom line, no MLS club should even bother talking with Jones if he is looking strictly for DP money. Injuries eventually claim all players, and Jones is one of the latest victims. He is not dependable to play a full MLS season, let alone control his own temper, which gets him in trouble at times. If healthy, Jones can play another two seasons in MLS but is not worth a high-level DP contract ever again. Whatever club decides to pay him that kind of money is taking a massive risk and will not receive a high return on their investment.