Just when it looked like the Las Vegas Raiders were drama-free heading into the regular season, one of the oldest players on the team decided to stir the pot. Veteran defensive end Chandler Jones has never been one to cause drama but he is not happy with the team.
This drama appears to stem from Jones not being able to get into the team gym and when he tried to reach out to general manager Dave Ziegler, he claims to have heard nothing. Jones detailed the situation in a series of September 5 Instagram stories that contain language that is NSFW.
Jones even went so far as to say that he doesn’t want to play for the Raiders if Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels remain employed, though he did appear to praise defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. He could be the key to fixing this situation as Jones clearly has respect for him. The Raiders open up the season against the Denver Broncos in a matter of days so having one of their most expensive and experienced players go on a complete tirade isn’t good. There’s still a lot to be learned about this situation but it’s certainly not a good thing.
How Do the Las Vegas Raiders Resolve This Situation?
As a player who hasn’t been known to cause headaches in his 11 years in the NFL, Chandler Jones has earned the benefit of the doubt until more information comes to light. Regardless, this isn’t a good situation for the Raiders right now. They have a young team coming off of a bad year and now one of their leaders is essentially saying either the coach and general manager go or he does.
Jones even went so far as to reach out to Antonio Brown, who pulled a similar stunt on the Raiders in 2019 right before their opener against the Broncos. The best-case scenario is that this is all just one huge misunderstanding the two sides can smooth things out in the coming days. The worst-case scenario is that Jones is serious about not wanting to work with Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler and is willing to hold out until he’s cut or traded. The Raiders need to figure out how to resolve this and a way to do that would be streamlining communication with Jones who clearly feels like he can’t speak to Ziegler or McDaniels when he needs to.
Chandler Jones Is Coming off Rough Year
The problem facing Chandler Jones is that he wasn’t very valuable to the Raiders last season. After they gave him a three-year, $51 million contract, he had just 4.5 sacks in 15 games and ended the season on the Injured Reserve. His play was so poor that the Raiders used the No. 7 pick on defensive end Tyree Willson when they had far bigger needs.
While the Raiders would rather have a happy Jones than one who is stirring up drama, losing him wouldn’t be the biggest blow. However, they can’t cut him without taking on a $25.9 million dead cap hit, per Spotrac. They can’t afford to take on all that money just because he’s angry. Perhaps they could trade him for pennies but it’s hard to see a lot of teams out there who might want to pay him the money he’s owed. This is a very bad situation for the Raiders to be in right before the season and their best option is to try and figure out how to make him happy for the time being.