In the aftermath of his Colorado Rapids being eliminated by the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Western Conference final, Jermaine Jones had no problem eagerly looking ahead to what's next for him.
Jones is embracing the options on the table upon the completion of his contract with the Rapids, though they might not be as numerous as he thinks. Jones, in a tweet and comments made to the Denver Post, repeatedly used the term "free agent" (in a since-deleted tweet following Sunday's loss, Jones exclaimed: "Now it's time to enjoy family and in a couple of weeks getting back to work! We will see where!! FREE AGENT BABY"), and while he is technically out of contract with the Rapids and MLS, the club will continue to hold his league rights, per MLS rules, as he doesn't fit the requirements for league free agency. He is free to sign with any club in another league, though, and he has his eye on a nice payday.
“People know that I came to this league as a (Designated Player) and this is where I want to go back to,” Jones told the Denver Post. “I’m a free agent now. I will sit back and see what comes. I’m not scared to go back to Europe or scared to go to Mexico or somewhere.”
Jones took a massive pay cut to go from the New England Revolution to the Rapids, going from a salary north of $3 million to one of $650,000, according to MLS Players Union documents.
“This season was special,” Jones told the Post. “My situation was completely different before the season and I said, ‘I don’t care about money,’ and I come and I want to play and I want to show people that I can be an impact player.”
Jones appeared in just nine games during the 2016 regular season, missing time because of a six-game suspension to begin the season and a summer knee injury, and he played in all four of Colorado's playoff games, starting three. He had three goals and three assists in his 13 appearances. He was also called in by Jurgen Klinsmann to the USA's November World Cup qualifiers and played all 180 minutes. His mainstay place on the national team could be in jeopardy now that Klinsmann has made way for Bruce Arena, though.
While Jones isn't the average 35-year-old midfielder, teams, both in MLS and abroad, could be put off by the salary demand for an aging player. His family lives in Los Angeles, and the Galaxy have big-money openings now that Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane have moved on, but there's no guarantee that the Galaxy and new general manager Peter Vagenas are interested in spending big on another older player to fill the void.
Whatever the future holds, Jones certainly appears to be looking forward to it.