After a lackluster first season with the Las Vegas Raiders, Chandler Jones has drawn some serious concerns. The roughly $17 million man was set to bolster the defensive line alongside star rusher Maxx Crosby. However, the former NFC Defensive Player of the Year raised more questions than he answered. It’s time to pick apart Jones’ up-and-down 2022 campaign.
By The Numbers: Raiders DE Chandler Jones
Objectively, the 11-year veteran had a rocky season. Jones posted a 63.8 overall grade on Pro Football Focus while totaling just two games with a grade above 70. His 19.6 missed tackle percentage contributed to his abysmal 37.7 tackle grade, the second worst of his career. Jones did, however, have 32 hurries, 10 quarterback hits, and 47 pressures. Although he found his way to the backfield, his five total sacks show that the production wasn’t there. The highlight of Jones’ season will be his game-winning fumble return for a touchdown against his former team, the New England Patriots.
While it is evident that he has lost a step, the 65.5 run-defense grade Jones posted shows he can still prove valuable. Consistency was the name of his game, posting 13 games above a 55.0 rating and even a Week 14 outing with a 91.9. His 60.4 pass rush grade was a huge dip from his 87.7 the year prior, but still slightly above serviceable. While nothing jumps out, it should be noted that Jones posted no games below a 51.0 pass rush grade. Being consistently average on such a hefty contract isn’t ideal, but it certainly could have been worse.
Chandler Jones’ 2023 Relevance
Although Jones is more than likely locked up as a Raider through 2023, the Raiders still have options surrounding his use. Additionally, Jones could be part of a completely new EDGE rotation next season as Clelin Ferrell is out. Considering this, the Raiders will most likely look to replace the production with a rookie. As a mentor, Jones would be valuable to a draft pick’s development. The $16 million guaranteed contract in 2023 is extremely expensive for a player on a career decline, but if the Raiders end up with a player such as Tyree Wilson or Myles Murphy, it won’t be all bad.
The Raiders are certainly pondering their decisions regarding Jones’ contract, but it wasn’t all his fault. Jones was brought into a poor defense with a brand-new coordinator who has yet to find his players. We can’t expect the aging veteran to be a long-term fit in Las Vegas. We can, however, expect the Raiders to add more weapons along the defensive line. With better players, both in skill and scheme, the expectations will be lifted more-so off of Jones’ shoulders.
Ultimately, Jones had an underwhelming season. What was thought to be a staple of a new-look defense has turned into a seemingly expensive bridge player. With more help from an improved interior defensive line, Jones could still capitalize on opportunities. Although it is safe to say the 32-year-old is declining quickly from the game-breaking pass rusher that he once was, Jones is not a bottom-tier player by any means, but the Raiders will be happy to dump the contract when the time comes.
*Top Photo: USA Today