Raiders’ $51 Million Contract Named 3rd-Worst in the NFL

chandler jones

Getty Las Vegas Raiders DE Chandler Jones.

The Las Vegas Raiders decided to go on a spending spree last offseason when they signed defensive end Chandler Jones to a three-year contract worth $51 million. The former Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowler was 32 at the time but was coming off a season where he had 10.5 sacks. Considering he was coached by Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham when he was the defensive line coach of the New England Patriots from 2012 to 2013, Jones was a logical fit with the team.

However, his debut season with the Raiders had ups and downs. Through his first 11 games in Las Vegas, Jones mustered 0.5 sacks. He picked up the pace for the next four games and had 4.0 sacks before an elbow injury in the Week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers ended his season early.

Jones showed signs of improvement prior to the elbow injury, but there is still skepticism regarding the contract the Raiders have him on. In a column written for Bleacher Report on June 13 about the worst contracts in the NFL, Alex Kay listed Jones as having the third-worst.

“Despite playing with one of the league’s top up-and-coming edge rushers in Maxx Crosby, Jones’ inaugural season in Vegas went poorly. He finished with a meager 4.5 sacks in 15 contests while earning a pedestrian 63.8 PFF grade for his efforts,” Kay wrote.

“Jones is heading into his age 33 season with little upside and reason to believe he’ll bounce back from that showing. The Raiders used the No. 7 overall pick on an elite pass-rushing prospect in Tyree Wilson and could elect to phase the aging veteran out of their defensive plans if his skills continue to decline. Vegas won’t be able to completely rid itself of Jones until 2024, however, when his dead cap hit will drop to $12.3 million in comparison to his $17 million salary.”

What the Rest of Chandler Jones’ Contract Looks Like

The Raiders used the No. 7 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on defensive end Tyree Wilson out of Texas Tech. He will be the future defensive end that they pair with Maxx Crosby. For now, it would be quite difficult to get out of Jones’ contract. According to Spotrac, cutting the four-time Pro Bowler would lead to a $25.6 million dead cap hit.

Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal predicted in a tweet sent on February 20 that Jones will likely be gone after this season. Next year, he will have a dead cap hit of $12.27 million if he is released, which is a more manageable number if the Raiders hope to open up more salary cap space.

Chandler Jones Reveals He Has Dropped Weight

As previously noted, Jones was starting to come on toward the end of the 2022 season. The elbow injury was a setback but it led to some significant weight loss for the veteran. According to a June 14 report from The Athletic’s Tashan Reed and Vic Tafur, Jones is down from 260 pounds to 250 pounds.

He has previously spoken about his weight loss but didn’t give specifics.

“I’m a little lighter this year,” Jones said during his June 1 media availability. “I feel a little faster, a little bit stronger, but I’m just trying to perfect my craft.”

250 pounds isn’t too light for a pass rusher. Maxx Crosby is 256 pounds and Steelers star pass rusher T.J. Watt is 252 pounds.

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