Grading the first half of defensive players brought in this free agency
Chandler Jones, Edge
- Grade: A+
- Contract: 3y, $51m
I honestly don’t know what I like more: The contract, or the way the Raiders killed two birds with one stone, by acquiring cornerback Rock Ya-Sin in a subsequent trade.
Outside of TJ Watt, Chandler Jones may just be the best edge rusher in the league. He just signed a new contract in free agency, so he must be getting paid top dollar, right? Far from it; In fact, Jones’ contract doesn’t even put him in the top-10 highest-paid edge rushers.
In each of the last six years, not including the 2020 season where Jones missed 11 contests, the former Cardinal posted double-digit sacks. This streak dates all the way back to before he even became a Cardinal, and was on the same team that McDaniels was coaching. On top of his relationship with McDaniels, Jones came into the NFL with Patrick Graham as his position coach.
Unbeknownst to everyone, grabbing Jones in free agency and trading Yannick Ngakoue to the Colts for Ya-Sin was the plan all along. This not only gave the Raiders an upgrade at the edge but also landed them the best corner the NFL had to offer last year in man-coverage. Losing a player of Casey Hayward’s caliber is never easy, but at least now it’s a lot easier.
Taking both of these things into account, this isn’t only my no.1 move this off-season, but it leaves me amazed that this move was planned so thoroughly and quietly and executed to perfection.