Chandler Jones (DE)

NFL Restructures: McCaffrey, Jones, Franklin-Myers, Jones

Here are a few details on recent contract restructures agreed to around the league:

  • The 49ers were able to reach an agreement on a restructured contract with star running back Christian McCaffrey last week, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, opening up $8.58MM in cap space. The team converted $10.72MM of McCaffrey’s 2023 base salary into a signing bonus and added two void years in order to reach the desired cap savings.
  • The Raiders were likewise able to restructure the contract of outside linebacker Chandler Jones to free up $5.07MM in cap space, according to Yates. Jones agreed to convert $6.33MM of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus and add an additional void year to help Las Vegas reach those figures.
  • Yates also reports that the Jets reached an agreement last week to restructure defensive end John Franklin-Myers‘s contract. New York converted $4.32MM of Franklin-Myers’s 2023 base salary into a signing bonus to clear up $3.46MM in cap space.
  • In one of the least impactful updates we’ve reported, the Giantscap space decreased by $750K last week because of a corresponding increase to quarterback Daniel Jones‘s cap hit. According to Dan Duggan of The Athletic, the adjustment stems from an incentive Jones can earn this season if he plays over 65 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and wins the division. According to the league’s CBA, “any incentive bonus based on the team’s ranking in its Division automatically will be deemed ‘likely to be earned,'” which adds the incentive automatically to Jones’s 2023 cap hit.

Raiders Targeting Defensive Upgrades, Meet With DE Tyree Wilson

Reliable defenses have eluded the Raiders for most of this century. Last season marked the franchise’s 20th straight ranking in the bottom half in scoring defense. Patrick Graham‘s unit ranked 26th in points allowed and 27th in DVOA, making it logical to expect the AFC West franchise to seek help in the draft.

The team will do so, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore notes help will be sought on all three defensive levels. Although the Raiders have added a few pieces on defense, they have not devoted much money beyond the midlevel Marcus Epps contract. After the Davante Adams trade cost Las Vegas’ first- and second-round picks last year, the team should be expected to add defensive help early in this draft.

Substantial guarantees remain on Chandler Jones‘ deal, but after the former Cardinals All-Pro did not live up to expectations last season, Bonsignore adds the Raiders are eyeing edge help that would both prepare them for Jones’ departure — which could happen in 2024 — and give the veteran pass rusher more rest in 2023. The team met with Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson on Thursday, Albert Breer of tweets.

Jones, 33, finished with just 4.5 sacks last season; three of those came in one game. His 2023 base salary and roster bonus represent a $16MM guarantee for the Silver and Black. Due to the void years tacked onto Jones’ three-year contract, it would cost the Raiders $7.2MM in dead money to cut him (without a post-June 1 designation, that is) in 2024. The Raiders signed ex-49er Jordan Willis as a backup but look to be targeting edge help. Both’s Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN’s Scouts Inc. rate Wilson as a top-six player, but teams’ quarterback maneuvers could push him down to the Raiders at No. 7. Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness also sits as a possible edge upgrade for the Raiders, who have also done considerable homework on quarterbacks.

The Raiders have hosted each of the top quarterbacks available this year, including Hendon Hooker, but their defense may have too many needs for Josh McDaniels’ team — which already signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a three-year deal that guarantees him $33.75MM — to take a quarterback in Round 1. Instead, cornerback looks like a strong consideration. The Raiders should be monitored for a corner at 7, Jordan Reid of notes. They hosted Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. and Maryland’s Deonte Banks on visits, and Reid adds the team has also work on top corners Devon Witherspoon (Illinois) and Christian Gonzalez (Oregon). Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent mock sends Witherspoon to Vegas.

Robert Spillane (two years, $7MM) could be ticketed for a full-time role with the Raiders, being on the radar to wear the green dot signifying communication. The Raiders should be expected to look into this year’s linebacker class, per Bonsignore, but that will not happen until at least Round 2. On Day 2, Las Vegas holds the Nos. 38, 70 and 100 overall picks.

A Jalen Carter visit surfaced, with word of that meeting coming out shortly after a report indicated the Raiders would not consider the Georgia defensive tackle, and could be in position to select the high-risk proposition. But The Athletic’s Vic Tafur adds the Carter meeting has not yet transpired. The Bears (No. 9) and Eagles (No. 10) have both emerged as potential Carter landing spots, though the Seahawks (No. 5) have as well.

Raiders’ Chandler Jones, Denzel Perryman Likely To Be Shut Down

The Raiders suffered another underwhelming loss on Christmas Eve, which essentially ended any hope the team had of making a late push into the playoffs. Their defense is also set to be shorthanded for the final two weeks of the campaign.

Pass rusher Chandler Jones and linebacker Denzel Perryman each exited Vegas’ loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the former suffered an elbow injury, while the latter has a dislocated shoulder (Twitter link). As a result, it would come as little surprise if both players were to be shut down until the 2023 season.

Head coach Josh McDaniels suggested as much when speaking to the media (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Tashan Reed). The news, in all likelihood, marks a disappointing end to a season in which nothing has gone according to plan for a Raiders team which had significant expectations after their eventful offseason. The team sits at 6-9 thanks in large part to a number of blown double-digit leads and their below-average ranking in several major defensive categories.

Jones was a key reason the Raiders’ pass rush was predicted to take a step forward. The four-time Pro Bowler was a free agent target of the Bills before they ultimately landed Von Miller. Jones signed in Vegas on a three-year, $52.5MM contract in March, allowing the team to pair him Maxx Crosby – who himself signed a massive extension days earlier. Even in the latter stages of his career, Jones, 32, was tapped for a productive stint with his new team operating as a compliment to the latter.

Instead, Jones has not lived up to the expectations brought on by his pedigree and new deal. With the exception of a three-sack performance against the Chargers in Week 13, the former Patriot and Cardinal has been ineffective in rushing the passer. Jones sits at 4.5 sacks and 19 QB pressures on the year, figures which fall well short of what he produced last season in Arizona.

Perryman has, on the other hand, remained a consistent presence in the middle of the Raiders’ defense in 2022, his second season with the team. He put himself on the radar for a new deal last year when he totaled 154 tackles en route to earning Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his career. His 83 stops in 2022 (including a career-high 14 for loss) lead the team, whose run defense has fared better than their play against the pass.

A very narrow path to the postseason still remains for the Raiders to make the playoffs; it includes winning the team’s final two contests against the 49ers and Chiefs. Doing so will require improved play on offense relative to their last outing, but also on defense with an undermanned unit.

Bills Targeted Chandler Jones Amid Rams-Von Miller Connections

Von Miller started off his Bills tenure well, notching two sacks against the Rams and spearheading Buffalo’s seven-sack night. Miller chose the Bills over the Rams and Cowboys in free agency, but the rumors connecting the future Hall of Famer and the defending Super Bowl champions nearly moved the Bills in another direction.

Miller said this offseason he was 90% sure he would re-sign with the Rams. The Bills undoubtedly believed there was a good chance Miller would stay in Los Angeles, as Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic notes Buffalo was initially set to pursue Chandler Jones (subscription required).

The consensus belief Miller would stay in L.A. led to the Bills-Jones connection, per Rodrigue, who adds the Rams expected to retain Miller as well. The Bills became aware of a contract matter that ended up altering the Miller sweepstakes. Learning of the Rams’ proposal containing two guaranteed years, the Bills made the rare move of including a third guaranteed year. Miller said this summer that ended up pushing him to Buffalo.

Buffalo’s six-year, $120MM Miller contract includes a lower per-year average through 2024 than the Rams’ proposal carried, but Miller’s Bills deal has $10.7MM guaranteed in 2024. The Rams were unwilling to break a precedent in this chase, per Rodrigue, who notes this Rams regime has never offered a player a third guaranteed season. Los Angeles’ three-year Aaron Donald deal features a nonguaranteed 2024 season.

A loose Jones-Bills connection emerged ahead of free agency, though several other teams were interested. Once the legal tampering period began, however, the Raiders loomed for Jones. The former Patriots and Cardinals defender signed a three-year, $52.5MM accord hours before the 2022 league year began. Miller’s Bills pact became finalized hours later.

Jones, 32, is a year younger than Miller. But the two-time All-Pro appeared to be Buffalo’s backup plan here. The Bills had pursued a Miller trade before the 2021 season, though they were not connected to calling the Broncos on him before the in-season Rams swap. The Cardinals, who had Jones winding down his 2017 extension, and Cowboys were believed to be the Broncos’ other options there. Miller is signed through the 2027 season; he has said he will aim to play out the contract.

Raiders, Chandler Jones Agree To Deal

The Raiders will land one of the top players on this year’s market. They have agreed to terms with Chandler Jones, Tom Pelissero of tweets. The sides agreed to a three-year deal worth $52.5MM, Ian Rapoport of tweets, adding that the deal includes $34MM guaranteed.

This will reunite the former All-Pro with Josh McDaniels and Patrick Graham, who were both in New England during the first chapter of Jones’ career. After breaking through to the All-Pro level in Arizona, Jones will relocate to Las Vegas and join Maxx Crosby atop their edge-rushing stable.

For barely a minute, a Raiders reality with Crosby, Jones and Yannick Ngakoue existed. But the team is trading Ngakoue to the Colts. This will clear out some money for a Raiders squad that now has a Pro Bowl edge partnership. Jones bounced back after a biceps injury halted his 2020 season early; he registered 10.5 sacks in his sixth Cardinals season. Cards owner Michael Bidwill expressed a desire to re-sign Jones, who then tweeted laughing emojis after the owner’s comments. Unsurprisingly, the Cards were not closely connected with Jones during the legal tampering period.

Jones, 32, began the 2021 season as a disgruntled Cardinal, having requested a trade after voicing frustration about his contract. Several pass rushers had surpassed Jones’ 2017 extension — a $16.5MM-per-year pact — but he played out the deal. Jones is not exactly leaving the desert, with the Raiders now in Las Vegas, but his Cardinals chapter is over. He has agreed to similar terms with the Raiders. Jones appears to have missed his window to land a $20MM-plus-year-year accord, but he has still done quite well for himself during his prime.

The Raiders recently gave Crosby a $23.5MM-per-year extension. They are now fully loaded at the edge spot. Jones led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2017 — a year after the Patriots dealt him to Arizona — and posted a 19-sack slate in 2019. Making Pro Bowls with both the Pats and Cards, Jones will attempt to aid the Raiders in an AFC West suddenly flush with pass rushers. Jones, Khalil Mack and Randy Gregory are each with AFC West teams now, creating a division stacked at both quarterback and players paid to pursue QBs.

Broncos Expected To Pursue Pass Rushers, OL Help In Free Agency

Russell Wilson‘s impending Denver arrival positions the Broncos to be legitimate playoff contenders for the first time in six years, but the AFC West squad is expected to be active in free agency to fortify its roster around the Pro Bowl quarterback.

The Broncos are expected to target an elite pass rusher in free agency, per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who also notes the team will pursue upgrades on its offensive line. Despite the Broncos taking on Wilson’s contract, they have more than $23MM in cap space. And they have been linked to reacquiring the best pass rusher in franchise history.

Von Miller has made social media overtures indicating interest in rejoining the Broncos, which would certainly make for an interesting development considering the team traded him for second- and third-round picks last year. An Aroldis Chapman-like scenario unfolding, in which the Broncos landed a strong midseason trade return and then re-signed the player, would stand to restock the team’s edge rush. Denver has Bradley Chubb‘s fifth-year option salary on its books but no other contracts of note at outside linebacker.

Miller has also been connected to staying in Los Angeles, and the Rams are confident their offer will convince Miller to stay. If the Broncos do not reacquire their all-time sack leader, La Canfora mentions Chandler Jones or Randy Gregory as options for the team. Jones, 32, is a year younger than Miller, and has been connected to the Broncos — among other teams — previously ahead of free agency. The Cardinals All-Pro bounced back after his injury-marred 2020, registering 10.5 sacks last season. Gregory will turn 30 this year, and his suspension history will certainly affect his market. But after delivering as a starter for the Cowboys last season, the former second-round pick will have a market.

Pro Football Focus ranked the Broncos’ O-line 19th last season. While four of the team’s five primary 2021 starters are under contract, only one (midseason sub Quinn Meinerz, who replaced an injured Graham Glasgow) was acquired during George Paton‘s GM stay. The Broncos are fairly committed to left tackle Garett Bolles, who signed an extension in 2020, and it would surprise if left guard Dalton Risner was not a starter in his contract year. The rest of Denver’s O-line, which again has a glaring right tackle void, should not be considered set. This year’s market is not particularly deep at right tackle, beyond injury-prone Trent Brown, so it will be interesting to see if Denver tries to fill that need on the market or with one of its three Day 2 draft choices.

Latest On Chandler Jones’ Market

While the Cardinals have a desire to keep him, Chandler Jones is expected to have plenty of suitors if he hits the open market. According to NFL insider Jordan Schultz, no fewer than six teams are interested in bringing in the veteran pass rusher. (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Cardinals Want To Re-Sign Chandler Jones]

Schultz lists the Seahawks, Broncos, Dolphins, Falcons, Bills and Eagles as teams at least eyeing the two-time All-Pro. At 32, age will surely be a consideration with regards to the length of any deal, but salary should not be an issue. Schultz reports that Jones “will command at least $15-18MM”. A general manager he spoke to on the matter described Jones as “a guy who keeps himself in great shape”. That, coupled with the scarcity of such accomplished edge rushers, should leave him with any number of offers.

Not surprisingly, he also adds that the former Super Bowl winner is seeking to join a contender. The aforementioned teams cover a wide range in terms of expectations for the upcoming season, and – just as importantly – are in drastically different salary cap situations. His 10.5 sacks in 2021 show that a medium-term investment could put teams over the top in terms of a Super Bowl run, or help accelerate a re-tooling process at the position for squads aiming to take a step forward.

When asked about hitting the market, Jones said, “it’s not about money at all. Where I am in my career, I’ve gotten contracts, I’ve gotten the Super Bowl, but I think scheme is huge. Or for me, winning more championships… I will say I want to go to a place that maximizes my talents”.

While Jones will need to compete with the likes of Von Miller and a very highly-regarded draft class in terms of other notable sack artists, he seemingly won’t have an issue cashing in sometime in the very near future.

Latest On FA Pass Rushers

In the estimation of Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link), the quality and depth of this year’s collegiate class of pass rushers could negatively impact their professional counterparts seeking new contracts. Some of the most notable names in that latter category include the CardinalsChandler Jones and the RamsVon Miller.

Rapoport believes that Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill genuinely wants to retain Jones (as we heard last month), but the franchise tag value for the four-time Pro Bowler would be roughly $25MM, so that option is not feasible for the Cards. As such, Jones will hit the open market, and given that there has been something of a strained relationship between player and team for several years, he could be playing elsewhere in 2022.

Meanwhile, Rapoport expects the Rams to do everything they can to retain Miller, who is, like Jones, prepared to test the open market. Of course, the reigning Super Bowl champs also have new contracts for Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald on their radar, so GM Les Snead will have his work cut out for him when trying to re-up his prized trade acquisition.

A less heralded (but much younger) option for clubs in need of pass rush help could be Chargers OLB Uchenna Nwosu. As Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports, the Bolts and Nwosu have mutual interest in a new contract, but despite Nwosu’s desire to remain with his hometown team, the money will need to be right. Wilson suggests that the 25-year-old is targeting a contract with an average annual value between $10MM-$13MM, which would seem to be a fair price for an ascending player who put together a strong 2021 campaign — five sacks, eight TFL, 17 QB hits, and an interception — despite playing through a serious labrum injury.

The Colts, Packers, Bills, and Jets are all teams that could have interest in Nwosu, per Wilson. There is a good chance that Green Bay releases Za’Darius Smith, so Nwosu could serve as a Smith replacement in Wisconsin. In a separate piece, Wilson reports that the Jets, like the Chiefs, would be in on Smith should he indeed become a Packers cap casualty.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman is certainly monitoring both collegiate pass rushers as well as the free agent market. When discussing how he is prioritizing his team’s pass rush, Roseman recently said, “I’d be surprised if we didn’t do something there” (Twitter link via Eliot Shorr-Parks of Zach Berman and Bo Wulf of The Athletic (subscription required) believe there is a good chance Philadelphia grabs an edge rusher with at least one of its three first-round picks, especially since they expect Roseman to let DE Derek Barnett depart in free agency.’s Jordan Reid, Matt Miller, and Todd McShay provide a detailed breakdown of the strong performance put on by the 2022 draft class of front seven players at this year’s scouting combine (subscription required).

Cardinals Want To Re-Sign Chandler Jones

Since Chandler Jones requested a trade ahead of last season, not much has emerged about his prospects of staying in Arizona on another new contract. He played out his previous deal and is now a month from testing the market for the first time.

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said Friday he “would love” to have Jones back. Of course, there are some complications. Jones’ age, the fact that he has been previously franchise-tagged and other teams’ potential willingness to outbid Arizona stand to affect Jones’ status with the team.

I can tell you we love Chandler and we would love to have him back,” Bidwill said during an appearance on Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta (via “The devil’s in the details. I’ll leave that up to [GM] Steve [Keim] and Chandler’s representatives to work on. But we love Chandler and what he’s done for us in the past and hopefully in the future as well.”

Jones did not appear to take Bidwill’s comments at face value, firing off some laughing emojis on Twitter shortly after. Some bad blood has been in the mix here for a bit. The Cardinals refused to adjust Jones’ deal last year, and the talented outside linebacker skipped minicamp and requested a trade in response. Jones was back with the team for the regular season and forced six fumbles, the second-most he has has tallied in a season, en route to his fourth Pro Bowl.

The Cards tagged Jones in 2017, and the NFL’s tag formula would make re-tagging Jones a tough proposition for the team. Because Jones’ cap number came in at $20.2MM last season, his tag figure would be 120% of that — as opposed to the standard linebacker tag, which is set to come in around $18MM — and cost the Cards nearly $25MM. This puts the Cardinals to a difficult decision, given Jones’ impact.

Acquired from the Patriots via trade in 2016, Jones has thrived in the desert. Jones has three double-digit sack seasons, including a 10.5-sack slate in 2021, and two All-Pro nods as a Cardinal. The Cards’ hopes of a Jones-J.J. Watt tandem fizzled, after another major injury sidelined Watt for much of the season, but Watt remains under contract for next season. Jones will turn 31 this weekend and missed much of the 2020 season due to a biceps injury, further complicating matters for the Cards, who also have Zach Ertz, Christian Kirk, James Conner and Chase Edmonds set for free agency.

Arizona losing Jones would represent a major blow. The Cards let Haason Reddick walk after his breakthrough contract year and, talent notwithstanding, cannot count on Watt. The team’s other outside linebacker starter, Markus Golden, is under contract for one more season.

Cardinals Rule Out J.J. Watt For Week 8

The Packers will not be the only ones missing key personnel for Thursday night’s NFC showdown. The Cardinals will be without J.J. Watt. Arizona ruled out Watt with a shoulder injury. Watt did not practice this week.

Watt has thus far delivered on the big-ticket deal he signed to relocate to Arizona, helping the Cardinals to their first 7-0 start since 1974 and playing a central role in the team ranking in the top five in scoring and total defense. The 32-year-old defender has played inside and outside for the Cardinals, who signed him to a two-year, $28MM deal this offseason. Pro Football Focus ranks Watt as a top-10 interior D-lineman through seven games.

But injuries have certainly been an issue for the all-time great. Another one will sideline him for the Cards’ Week 8 tilt. Injuries in 2016 and ’17 interrupted Watt’s stratospheric pace, and although the three-time Defensive Player of the Year returned to an All-Pro level in 2018, the former Texans superstar missed a chunk of the 2019 season as well. From 2016-19, Watt missed 32 games. Thursday will be his first absence since that 2019 season, however.

Arizona will have Chandler Jones back after he spent the past two weeks on their reserve/COVID-19 list. The team activated Jones and defensive lineman Zach Allen from the virus list.

Green Bay will be down Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, with both landing on the team’s COVID list. The Packers could activate All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, who returned to practice last week. Giving the veteran blocker an extra 10 days to come off the PUP list would make sense as well.