Where Will Jermaine Jones be Playing in 2017?
Jermaine Jones has made it no secret, he wants to get paid. After a successful one year stint in Colorado where Jones was an important piece to the club’s remarkable turnaround, the American international enters the offseason out of contract once again and in search of a fat one. Following Colorado’s playoff loss to Seattle, Jones stressed how excited he was to be a free agent. However, Jones isn’t really a free agent, at least not in MLS. He simply does not meet the strict requirements a player must hit in order to have free agency freedom. With that said, Colorado still holds his MLS rights heading into the offseason despite not having Jones under contract for 2017. The World Cup veteran could sign the DP contact he is looking for with another MLS team, but that club would need to negotiate a trade with the Rapids just for the rights to sign him. So where could we see Jermaine Jones playing come next year?
Sorry Rapids fans, but it is highly unlikely that we will see Jermaine Jones back in Colorado next season. After signing Tim Howard to a multi-million dollar contract in the summer, it doesn’t make sense from a soccer or financial standpoint for the Rapids to splash millions on another aging star. There is no denying that Mastroeni’s team is much stronger in 2017 with Jones on the roster than without, but at 35 years of age it’s not the right long-term move for the club. Jones will be looking for Lodeiro type money. Colorado are much better off finding a younger playmaking midfielder to build their core around that will cost them something closer to Mauro Diaz money. The only scenario in which we could see Jones back in Colorado is if he’s unable to find anything close to the contract he thinks he deserves. In that case, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rapids offer him a contract almost identical to what they paid him this year ($650,000).
The LA Galaxy and Jermaine Jones look like a match made in heaven on paper. The Galaxy’s top priority this offseason (besides finding a new coach) is to fill the midfield gap left by the departures of Gerrard and De Jong and have the backing to meet Jones’s financial expectations. However, it’s unlikely new GM, Peter Vagenas, is interested in bringing in Jermaine Jones on a multi-year DP deal at his age. Offering Jones a juicy one-year contract would solve the Galaxy’s immediate midfield concerns and be a low risk move given the short length of the contract. But Jones is aware he is getting older and seeking a multi-year deal that will help set up his family as his career dwindles down. Despite the differences, it would not be surprising to see Jones in a Galaxy uniform come opening day 2017.
Changes are coming in Chicago. Nelson Rodriguez has made it clear that the club is looking to spend some serious cash this offseason to improve the side. Recent reports have heavily linked German legend Bastian Schweinsteiger to the Fire, the World Cup champion was even photographed meeting Paunovic for dinner in Manchester. At this point, it’s clear Schweinsteiger is the Windy City’s top option to upgrade a midfield in desperate need of help. But if the deal ends up falling through, a move for Jermaine Jones makes a lot of sense. Despite only playing 3,500 minutes during his 2.5 seasons in MLS, Jermaine Jones has proven that he has the quality and personality to drastically change a club. In 2014, he joined midseason and inspired the New England Revolution all the way to MLS Cup. This past season, he was a driving force behind Colorado’s historic turnaround. Jermaine Jones has a track record in MLS of bringing a winning mentality to clubs, something the Chicago Fire have been missing for years now.
There is a legitimate possibility that MLS could lose one of its best players and biggest personalities in Jermaine Jones to another league this offseason. While MLS rules restrict Jones’s ability to negotiate with its clubs freely, he is free to sign with whatever team he wants outside of our league. Jones revealed in his postgame comments that he is open to leaving the league and playing abroad, whether that be Europe, Mexico, Asia, or elsewhere if that's where the money is at. But the truth is, his value is highest here in the United States. In Europe, players in their mid-thirties are not valued like they are in MLS unless they have proven they can still play at the top level, like a Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Jones would be unlikely to land a multi-year deal. Jones could go to Mexico and potentially land a contract similar to what he might make in MLS, but not for so much more than an MLS deal that it would be worth leaving for. Asia is a bit tricky. In recent years, we have seen Chinese clubs pay their players a ton of money. But this money is typically spent on internationally known stars. Jermaine Jones is a big star here in the United States, but he isn’t necessarily an internationally recognized stud. Asia is still a realistic possibility for Jones though as you just never know what kind of contracts those clubs are willing to offer players.