Panthers are releasing veteran linebacker Deion Jones.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 29, 2023
This is quite a fall from grace for Debo, who was regarded among the best players in the league just a few years ago.
Jones was taken in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of LSU and was a critical piece of the club that almost won the Super Bowl. He quickly established himself among the best players at his position over his first two seasons in the league, even ending his first season among the top vote-getters for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
During his rookie campaign, Jones led the entire league in interceptions returned for touchdowns and interception return yards while amassing 108 combined tackles, then followed it up with a Pro Bowl bid in 2017, in which he recorded 138 tackles, 10 for a loss, and a sack.
As an LSU alumnus, Debo was one of my favorite players in the league. He was dynamic in a way we haven’t seen from a linebacker. Eventually, the Falcons handed him a massive contract extension that he unfortunately never lived up to.
Jones’ play rapidly declined, and he was eventually traded to the Browns for a measly sixth-round pick after spending six years in Atlanta. He appeared in a handful of games for Cleveland in 2022, starting five and amassing 44 tackles, 2.5 sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble.
I thought Jones was a possible starter next to Shaq Thompson, but that’s no longer a possibility. I doubt he’s done in the NFL. At the very least, Deion Jones can serve as a very experienced backup. Whether he’s willing to take that role is another thing entirely, though.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire