Oakland Raiders Shockingly Release James Jones

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Late on Sunday night the Oakland Raiders made a post-2015 NFL Draft roster move that shocked those in the Bay Area, dropping one of their proven veterans on offense along with their top 2014 wide receivers in the wake of drafting Amari Cooper fourth overall and picking up Fresno State wideout Josh Harper as an undrafted free agent. Releasing former Green Bay Packers receiver and San Jose native James Jones in what was an eye opening move considering Jones performance for the team in his first season in Oakland.

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Jones was one of the Raiders leading receivers in 2014, catching six touchdowns and providing leadership in the wide receiver group along with helping out rookie quarterback Derek Carr as a consistent target. However with the additions of projected top targets in Cooper and free agent Michael Crabtree along with the potential of Carr’s former Fresno State teammate in Harper making the 53 man roster the Raiders decided over the weekend that the 31 year old was suddenly expendable.

Jones confirmed his release on Sunday night to Fallon Smith of CSN Bay Area, an outcome that put a sad end to what was a feel good story in the San Jose native making a return to North California after a successful career with the Green Bay Packers. A former Super Bowl champion coming home to play for the Raiders, and doing quite well for himself despite being just past his prime. His age in the end becoming his downfall with a sudden release from general manager Reggie McKenzie and a new coaching staff.

Jones being released now makes Michael Crabtree the veteran receiver in the Raiders setup at wideout, a player who lacks the same leadership qualities despite having a higher upside in terms of production. Getting rid of a player who was steady for the team last season and had the experience of knowing what it takes to win a championship from the locker room a puzzling decision from McKenzie to say the least.

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What Jones release does is free up targets and snaps for some of the younger Raiders wideouts on the roster. A group that now includes Cooper and Harper, but also includes the likes of Andre Holmes, Rod Streater along with Brice Butler. All of those players listed are promising and need time on the field to develop to their full potential. Dropping Jones from the roster accomplishes that, but it also comes at the cost of losing a player considered as a leader as well as one who was the Raiders most consistent red zone threat for Carr.

That won’t be a problem if the younger receivers and Crabtree step up to the plate, but it will still be disappointing to see an influx of receivers come at the price of losing a player who arguably deserved one more season in Oakland. Jones is likely to find a new team, but his time back in the area with the Raiders is now officially over for the San Jose native who left the only team he ever played for in Green Bay for a single season in Oakland.