Raiders Strike Deal With All-Pro Pass Rusher, Trade Star DE for Starting CB

chandler jones

Getty New Las Vegas Raiders pass rusher Chandler Jones.

Fans of the Las Vegas Raiders were in a panic in the early days of free agency after the team was mostly inactive. Big named free agents were quickly taken off the board as the team stayed idly by. Well, it appears that patience has paid off in a big way.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Raiders have struck a deal with superstar pass rusher Chandler Jones.

Ian Rapoport is also reporting that the deal will be for three years at $51 million, which is a nice payday for one of the best defensive players in the NFL.

This move makes perfect sense for the Raiders. Jones spent the first four seasons of his career with the New England Patriots and was coached by Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham when he was the defensive line coach there. Jones has been to the Pro Bowl four times, named First-Team All-Pro twice and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s. Needless to say, he’s one of the best defensive players in the NFL and on a Hall of Fame trajectory.

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Yannick Ngakoue Traded to Colts

Unfortunately for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, the Raiders couldn’t afford to pay him, Jones and Maxx Crosby. Rapoport reported that the team has traded Ngakoue to the Indianapolis Colts for cornerback Rock Ya-Sin. Rapoport has said that it’s just a player-for-player deal with no picks involved.

Ngakoue was great for the Raiders last season and led the team with 10.0 sacks. He formed one of the league’s best duos with Crosby. However, he was a much better fit in Gus Bradley’s defense, who he will be reuniting with in Indianapolis. It seems like Ngakoue was going to have a long career in Las Vegas next to Crosby but the coaching changes derailed that.

The Raiders needed a starting cornerback and may have found one in Ya-Sin. The 2019 second-round draft pick has started 29 games for the Colts. He’s not a huge difference-maker as he only has two career interceptions. The Raiders likely aren’t done making moves at cornerback quite yet.

The Answer the Raiders Needed

In recent weeks, the AFC West has been making big moves. The Denver Broncos traded for Russell Wilson while the Los Angeles Chargers landed Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson. For a moment, it looked like the Raiders might just stay put in the AFC West arms race. Landing Jones is a massive answer to the moves other teams in the division have made.

While the Chargers have a fierce pass rush duo now between Mack and Joey Bosa, the duo of Crosby and Jones is every bit as good and might be even better. The two just know how to get to the quarterback and combined for 19.5 sacks last season. Now that the two are together, the sack numbers should only go up. Expect more big moves from the Raiders as the decision to sign Jones is a move that proves the team is trying to win now.

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