Jermaine Jones spoke to the media today ahead of the United States' winter camp and for the first time we might have actually gained something informative about his contract status with MLS and the New England Revolution.
Jermaine Jones says he has opportunities in Germany, wants to go back, but offers are contingent on MLS suspension being reduced. #usmnt— Doug McIntyre (@DougMacESPN) January 28, 2016
Now, Jones has hinted in the past that he has offers other than the low-ball contract from MLS and the Revolution, when he took to Twitter to voice his displeasure last month about his current offer. The first story linked above doesn't offer the full picture of Jones' views, only a two word quote (before it was updated after this publishing).
"I did everything I could do when I came here to the States. I helped New England, with the Kraft family, to put soccer in front," Jones said. "And now, I'm getting an offer that is a joke. There's still time. I have to make my focus on these two games that come with the national team."
Per FIFA regulations and mentioned in the AP story, Jones' six-game suspension for bumping referee Mark Gieger in the MLS Playoffs last October would carry over to any team or league he signs for. So regardless of when Jones signs with another team -- either the Revolution or abroad -- he would still have to serve a six-game suspension. This has been fairly well known, but now it seems that the suspension is causing Jones problems abroad as well. The article also states that since Jones is without a current club, he is eligible to play with the USMNT in friendlies against Iceland in Canada in the upcoming week.
"I would be happy with three (games suspended), and then get a penalty to pay, something like that," Jones told the AP via FOX Soccer. "But six games, it's really tough to take."
It's tough to generate any sympathy for Jones regarding his suspension, because charging and making contact with a referee is unacceptable in any sport. But as someone who has personally stated that I want Jones back on the Revs, there has to be room for compromise for his return to New England
There's very little information regarding any overseas offers, and this includes the statement Jones made today about wanting to return to Germany. If we take Jones' statement at face value, MLS would need to reduce his suspension ahead of making a free transfer outside of the league. Something tells me the league isn't going to reduce a suspension for assaulting a referee before said player leaves on a free transfer.
"If you have a player with six games suspended, it's tough to bring him in," Jones said. "Then you have (only) maybe 10 games (left). It's not easy for all the other teams, and then I feel like it's unfair that you close a window for a player who did a lot for this country and for this sport here."
The Jones contract saga has seen very little new information come out in the past several months. Even though he can sign as a free agent outside the transfer window, a six-game ban means that as the weeks go by, it seems less and less likely that Jones will sign abroad. That essentially leaves the Revolution on the high ground for any MLS deal, since they hold the leverage of not only his suspension but retain his MLS rights should he want to sign elsewhere in the league. That means another team would have to acquire his rights via trade with New England.
On top of Jones' league suspension, if and when he starts to serve the ban in MLS, Jones would be ineligible from USMNT duty while serving the suspension. This would mean he would also likely miss the home-and-home series with Guatemala in late March.