Following the trade of Yannick Ngakoue to the Indianapolis Colts for Rock Ya-Sin, the Las Vegas Raiders were left without a defensive end to play opposite of Maxx Crosby. Many believed the Raiders would be among the strongest pass-rushing teams when they signed free agent Chandler Jones to a three-year, $51 million contract. The Jones deal has been largely a disappointment just nine weeks into the 2022 NFL season. To make matters worse, the Raiders are still among the league’s worst pass-rushing units. Another storyline from Sunday revolves around a former draft bust who was sent packing by the Raiders after failing to live up to expectations as a third-round selection in 2021. Well, what if I told you that he’s outplaying Jones this season? We’re referring to Arden Key, now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense.
Arden Key: 2 sacks, 13 pressures on 135 pass rush snaps with 1-year, $4 million contract for Jaguars
Chandler Jones: 0.5 sacks, 16 pressures on 220 pass rush snaps with 3-year, $51 million contract for #Raiders
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) November 6, 2022
The Las Vegas Raiders’ putrid pass rush continues…
Crosby is the only Raider who has recorded multiple sacks for the Raiders this year. His six sacks are 66 percent of the Raiders’ overall team sack total. In 2022, so far, his accomplice Jones only has a half-sack to his name. People point out that he has a strong run defense, but that doesn’t excuse his ineffectiveness as a pass rusher. It also doesn’t make up for the big payday he received in the offseason. Unfortunately for Raiders fans, many were under the impression their team was getting their own version of Von Miller.
The Raiders are paying Jones the sixth-highest yearly salary for defensive ends. Simply put, his production hasn’t warranted this type of salary. This kind of pay is not commensurate with his performance. Even worse, Key has outperformed him this season on a considerably lower salary. The one-year, $4 million contract signed by Key with the Jaguars is regarded as the 38th-highest defensive end salary.
Josh Dubow of the Associated Press broke down their productivity, as you can see above; it is eye-opening. Key has more sacks and only three fewer pressures on about 90 fewer pass-rushing snaps than Jones. That level of output from their “premier” pass rusher would be adored by the Raiders. Jones’ experience with the Raiders is embodied by the fact that Key is outperforming Jones as a rotational player for the Jaguars. Adding more salt to the wound, Dubow also pointed out that other former Raiders, Mario Edwards Jr., Jihad Ward, and Bruce Irvin are also outperforming Jones in terms of sacks.
*Top Photo: Sports Illustrated/Jaguars