Fans should not even begin to ask about Chandler Jones when you consider the Las Vegas Raiders’ history of not trading away draft capital.
It was recently reported that All-Pro defensive end, Chandler Jones, had requested a trade earlier in the offseason. This was reportedly being met with little to no traction from his current club, the Arizona Cardinals. Despite Jones arriving at training camp promptly, the rumor mill still swirls with the possibility of eventual turmoil. Anytime a pass rusher (or any player with a positive impact for that matter) even flirts with the idea of availability, the Raiders are quickly mentioned as a possible destination by fans and talking heads alike.
Jones is in the last year of his contract with Arizona and has questions about his long-term future with the team. Pass rushers don’t grow on trees, Raider Nation knows this very well, but if you’re waiting for the Raiders to empty their chest of draft picks for a player of Chandler Jones’ ilk, don’t hold your breath.
The Raiders could use Jones…
We’re not saying the Raiders don’t need Chandler, not at all. That would be buffoonery of the highest order. However, I am able to take off my Silver and Black tinted goggles and accept the reality of the situation.
The current regime has yet to spend draft capital on improving the defense, at least not via trade. If we know one thing about Jon Gruden, we know he loves improving on the defensive side of the ball.
What’s that? You say it’s actually the opposite?
The Raiders have made a handful of trades to acquire talent during Gruden’s tenure. None of those deals brought back a difference maker for the defense (unless you think wide receivers make good safeties. Spoiler alert: They don’t).
Rather than toss picks at talent that might hit the trade block, Las Vegas has thrown Fat Joe-level cash during the last two free agency periods. Also, let’s not forget the large amount of draft night selections. How those picks have panned out is a completely different story. One thing’s for sure though, the next time you see Gruden and Mike Mayock pony up picks for a proven defender, it’ll be the first time.
Salary cap gymnastics for a rental?
Barring some quick restructures, the Raiders would be in no position to pay Jones the $15 million he’s owed in the final year of his deal. On top of that, Jones is set to enter free agency for the first time in his career. Even coming off of a shortened 2020 season due to injury, the market for the former Syracuse Orange should be immense. Would he bypass the chance to choose his own fate to remain a Raider? Is the hefty draft capital cost worth finding out?
Combine this with Las Vegas’ frugal nature when it comes to trading draft picks for players that cannot take part in Spider 2 Y Banana calls, and you can understand why the transaction would be a long shot.
Yes, I’m aware the Raiders, or Cardinals for that matter, could just franchise tag Jones. However, that’d remove the fun in speculating, right?
Is Maxx now an afterthought?
Last and most certainly not least, acquiring Jones makes third year defensive end Maxx Crosby seem like an afterthought. The former fifth round pick has spent his first two seasons playing the role of singular pass rushing threat for the Raiders. While his sophomore production was not as impressive as his freshman showing, he gutted it out through numerous injuries and still led the team in sacks with seven.
Did fans forget about the Raiders signing Ngakoue?
The Raiders signed defensive end and pass rush specialist, Yannick Ngakoue to a two-year contract this offseason. This finally gave the team a proven pass rusher to pair with Crosby.
Would Jones be a lovely addition? No question about it! You can never have too much pass rushing in this league. But to prioritize spending draft picks on a 31-year-old who’s on an expiring deal coming off of injury? Instead of homegrown talent that produced a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate with plenty of upside? Well, that would be a bit outlandish. Especially when the Nightmare has already been inked to play on the opposite side.
Mayock put his money where his mouth was this past free agency. This was in hopes of improving this team in the trenches. The least we can do is see how things pan out.
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