The trade for Davante Adams has been met with the most fanfare for the Las Vegas Raiders but the Chandler Jones signing isn’t far behind. The four-time Pro Bowler signed a three-year, $51 million contract with the team this offseason and is coming off a 10.5 sack season. He now gets to share a defensive line with Maxx Crosby, who he believes is the best defensive player in the NFL.
The two should form one of the fiercest pass rushes in the league. However, not everybody is so high on Jones. The veteran pass rusher is 32 and has dealt with injuries in his career. Also, 5.0 of his 10.5 sacks came in Week 1 last season. Alex Kay of Bleacher Report is predicting that Jones will be the Raiders’ biggest bust in 2022:
Jones is now well on the wrong side of 30—he turned 32 right after the 2021 campaign ended—and joining a new defensive scheme for the first time since he was traded from the New England Patriots to the Cardinals in 2016.
Jones can still be a quality edge-rusher now that he’s with the Las Vegas Raiders, but he’s no longer the type of talent who amassed 49 sacks between 2017 and 2019. Expecting him to contribute at that high of a level at this point in his career is unrealistic.
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Jones Doesn’t Need to Have 10+ Sacks to Make an Impact
Kay is likely right in the assessment that Jones might not be the same player who had 19.0 sacks in 2019. He’s older now and it’s difficult to be an elite pass rusher once you’re into your 30s. That said, the Raiders don’t need him to be the unblockable force that he’s been in the past. That’s Crosby’s job.
Jones was added, in part, to help take some pressure off Crosby. He’s also an excellent leader for a young Raiders defense and brings familiarity with the style of defense that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is going to run. Obviously, the team would love to see Jones and Crosby combine for 30.0 sacks next season but it isn’t necessary for the defense to be solid. If he can stay healthy, Jones should be good for at least 10 sacks which would make him worth the money if he helps Crosby reach new heights.
Raiders Nearing 1st Preseason Game
It won’t be long before the Raiders start playing games. The preseason has arrived as the team plays in the Hall of Fame Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 4. It’s the first preseason game so it won’t mean much.
Many of the Raiders starters are unlikely to play as the backups and undrafted rookies get to prove their worth. The Jaguars have already announced that quarterback Trevor Lawrence won’t play so it’s safe to assume that Derek Carr won’t be suiting up. Starters don’t typically play much in the preseason these days. Carr didn’t play a single snap in preseason last year. It remains to be seen how head coach Josh McDaniels plans to approach things.