Listen, the Colorado Rapids are making bizarre, irrational, highly questionable moves this offseason. They could have had a great SuperDraft haul with the 2nd and 12th pick, but dumped them for allocation cash and Zach Pfeffer. They lack a sure-fire scorer, but have doggedly stuck with Kevin Doyle. If you believe this report, it's probably because Alan Pulido is a douche-socket.
According to this: Rapids coach flew to Greece, fee agreed upon for Pulido (4m euros), Pulido refused move to MLS. https://t.co/5oxYiFPKoJ— Eric Gomez (@EricGomez86) January 26, 2016
They dropped creative attackers Juan Ramirez and Vicente Sanchez, and replaced them with Marco Pappa and... and... still waiting. And most of those moves were made in exchange for... TAM(!) And GAM (!) The team is now loaded with GarberBux, and rumored to be blowing them on Tim Howard, a player at a position we're actually fine at. Also, there's no experienced fullbacks on this squad at all, since the team didn't resign Michael Harrington, Maynor Figueroa, or James Riley (note: James Riley isn't good. But he actually played significant minutes at RB last year, unlike all the other guys on the roster.)
So nothing makes sense at all. This team is clearly built for now, though, because nobody dumps draft picks for a 36 year-old goal keeper as part of a long term plan. This team is currently not very good (and not very deep: we currently have only 19 players on our 28 man roster, and rumors are swirling about the imminent departure of Marcelo Sarvas to DC United). It's especially not good once you venture more than a pace or two beyond our own 18 yard box: the team is like Sam Cronin and eight giant question marks. Or traffic cones. Your perspective may depend on whether you've had a nip of scotch and are feeling belligerent or not. Looking at you, John Rosch.
So this team is shaky, a bit old, and not likely to be back in this incarnation after this season. The season very well might be a total and absolute trainwreck. So screw it. Let's go get Jermaine Jones.
If you haven't followed, Jones is out-of-contract with the New England Revolution, who reportedly want him to take an 80% pay cut in order to come back to the team. That's because A) Jones is slowing down at the age of 34, B) he was out with injury for nearly half the season, and C) he'll start the season suspended for 6 games due to a physical confrontation with referee Mark Geiger during the 2015 MLS Cup playoffs. Jones made around $3 million in 2015, so he can probably be had for between $1 and 1.5 million.
Is he worth it? Oh, hell no. Jones is worth $600,000, maybe $800,000, tops. He still covers a lot of ground, still gets forward in attack and is a highly skilled midfield player. He's not the same guy he was in Brazil in 2014, but he's still a top-ten defensive midfielder in MLS. And the Rapids need a second d-mid, a free-roamer, to fit in their preferred 4-2-3-1 system, Jones would be a great addition.
He'd be great in Colorado. It's much closer to his home in Los Angeles then New England is. He'd re-unite with his USMNT buddy Tim Howard. He'd be able to provide mentoring and leadership to younger Rapids like Emmanuel Appiah and Dominique Badji. He's a genuinely fun soccer player to watch compete. There's a lot of upside here.
So how do you justify overpaying a player that can only play for some of the season? That likely won't be back in 2017? First, the Rapids have three designated player slots, and only one is filled: striker Kevin Doyle. With Tim Howard assumed to be taking the second spot, you've got a place that you can pay someone any amount over $460,000 and it doesn't count against the MLS Salary Cap, except to your club's balance sheet.
Why bring in a guy that can't play the first six games? Well, assuming Howard plays beginning in only May or June, after the EPL season ends, Jones and Howard would roughly start playing at the same time. There's something kinda cool about that: like ‘here come the cavalry'. If the Rapids could start the season and grind out a couple points, maybe even 10 or 12, in their first 8 games without Howard and Jones, it might even be possible for this team to make a playoff run with the addition of two DPs at a critical juncture.
And lastly, what's the worst thing that can happen? We'll be terrible with Jones and he'll be expensive. So what? Jones is fun. He's entertaining. He'll sell jerseys and grace billboards. Without him, the team (besides Howard) is likely to be low-rent and low-performance. Taking a gamble on Jermaine Jones is silly, but in a reasonable way. Jermaine Jones is the kind of train wreck this team, and it's fans, desperately needs.