Sunday was an exciting day for the New England Revolution as they announced the signing of Jermaine Jones. The news brought an end to the long drawn-out drama about Jones’ playing future. The moment will certainly go down as one of the most important in Revolution history, but fans should temper expectations in regards to the rest of the season.
Jones is reportedly set to earn $4.5 million to play the remainder of 2014 and the whole of 2015, with an option for 2016. This type of deal is uncharted territory for the Revs as their previous three Designated Players didn’t earn this type of money. The financial commitment made to obtain Jones, not to mention the ambition demonstrated in beating out the Chicago Fire, could mark a significant philosophical shift for the organization.
The addition of Jones is also notable because of the player’s marketability. The midfielder will instantly become one of the more marketable members of the Revolution. Jones was arguably the best American player at the World Cup and to see him playing in Foxboro is monumental. There is no question that Jones will be regularly available to the media while also appearing on promotional materials.
On the field, Jones will become an automatic starter in the center of the pitch. His grit will be valuable in shielding the backline while his vision will help spur the attack. Jones could occupy the defensive midfield position alone or play alongside Scott Caldwell or Andy Dorman in a double pivot system. Regardless of where he operates, Jones will be an effective member of the Revolution squad.
Jones is an all-around good acquisition for the Revs, but fans should be weary of raising their expectations too high. After all, Jones has been without a club since his contract with Turkish side Besiktas expired in June. Following US National Team’s World Cup defeat by Belgium on July 1st, Jones spent time attending charity events and mingling with the Hollywood elite. Jones will likely need some time to regain fitness and acclimate to his new team. With only two months left in the season, it will be interesting to see how much Jones is able to play.
Even when Jones is ready to contribute, there are still concerns on the attacking end of the field. With Teal Bunbury and Patrick Mullins not producing desirable numbers at the forward position, the Revs have turned to Charlie Davies. The New Hampshire native has thrived recently with two goals and one assist in the last four games, but he has yet to contribute a full 90 minute shift. The Revs will also have Geoffrey Castillion as an options but the 23-year-old will likely need time to adjust to MLS. Will Davies, Castillion or any of the other forwards be enough to marshal the Revolution attack during the last stanza of the season?
It’s understandable to want immediate success, but remember that the Eastern Conference is extremely tight this year. With no bye-weeks left, the Revolution’s remaining ten games will come quickly. Each game will carry substantial weight as they are all against Eastern Conference foes.
Sitting on 30 points, the Revs are one point away from a playoff spot. While certainly in the postseason picture, the team isn’t guaranteed a ticket. The seven-game unbeaten streak showcases that the Revs are capable of putting together a good run while the eight straight loses serve as evidence of how low the team can fall.
If the Revs do fail to make the playoffs, there will still be a lot of promise for 2015. Jones will be available for a full season and the Revolution’s young core will have another year of experience.
It’s good to have lofty expectations for the Revolution, especially when you consider the amount of talent on the roster. However, the final two months of this season shouldn’t determine the legacy of the Jermaine Jones Deal.