Former Atlanta Falcons star linebacker Deion Jones remains a free agent a season after parting ways with Atlanta and spending time with the Browns. It is one of the odder stories in recent Falcons history considering just how great Jones was early for the Falcons only to completely fall out of favor and struggle to find a landing spot.
Whether it was the contract that eased off the urgency and level of play or simply the losing Atlanta consistently endured it was clear that during Deion's final seasons in Atlanta, he wasn't close to the same player.
When Jones was drafted there was an instant impact Deion brought by his ability to wipe away mistakes and cover sideline to sideline with his speed. Whether it was injuries or motor this level of play completely disappeared from Deion's game and Jones didn't have close to the same impact.
Foye surpassed Jones as Atlanta's best option at the position before leaving for Jacksonville and clearly would have benefitted from a better option alongside him in the duo's final season.
The entire situation is odd considering that Jones is only twenty-eight and even in a tough position should have still been in his prime seasons with the Falcons. The lack of ability to finish tackles and hunt the ball as he did in his early seasons with Atlanta remains a mystery.
While Deion will likely catch on with a roster before the start of the season it is a great example of why Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have so willingly accepted dead cap hits in their first three seasons opting for a quick and painful rebuild over keeping players simply based on their contract.
Deion Jones remains one of Atlanta's driving forces in their last true playoff success and deserves immense credit for that. However, the way that his career ended remains odd and is a poor ending to what was a great story.