D.J. Jones

Broncos To Sign DL D.J. Jones

The Broncos made last week’s biggest splash but went through a dormant Monday. They are making a move tonight, however, in signing former 49ers defensive lineman D.J. Jones.

Jones agreed to a three-year, $30MM deal with Denver, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Breaking through during his contract year, Jones will collect a nice payday. The Broncos are giving the interior D-lineman a fully guaranteed $20MM.

The sixth-year D-lineman will essentially take the place of Shelby Harris, whom the Broncos included in their Russell Wilson trade. Harris, a Bronco from 2017-21, was attached to a $9MM-per-year deal.

A former sixth-round pick, Jones displayed considerable promise during his contract year. The Ole Miss alum started 17 games for San Francisco, registered 10 tackles for loss and forced two fumbles. The 49ers used Jones as a 46-game starter over the past three seasons, during which time the inside defender recorded seven sacks and 21 TFLs. Jones added a sack, during the 49ers’ five-sack game against the Cowboys, in the playoffs earlier this year.

At 27, D.J. Jones is nearly four years younger than Harris. He will team with Dre’Mont Jones, who is going into a contract year, and nose tackle Mike Purcell on the Broncos’ D-line. D.J. Jones is the only projected starter acquired or extended during George Paton‘s GM tenure.

Jets To Spend Big On Cornerback?

Jets GM Joe Douglas has stressed the importance of maintaining financial flexibility despite his club’s significant amount of cap space, and Brian Costello of the New York Post hears from several agents that Gang Green is unlikely to be a major player for this year’s top FAs. However, Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (subscription required) are hearing something a bit different.

The ESPN scribes expect Douglas — who needs to demonstrate tangible progress in his fourth year at the top of the Jets’ front office — to make a few high-profile signings. Graziano confirms earlier reports that New York is interested in center Ryan Jensen, and he adds that the Jets are in on 49ers DT D.J. Jones. Tight end and safety are also priorities.

Fowler, meanwhile, reports that the Jets are prepared to “spend big” on a premier cornerback. J.C. Jackson is generally viewed as the best CB available, though Costello says New York is not expected to be involved in the bidding for Jackson. Carlton Davis, whom Spotrac believes is in line for a five-year pact worth roughly $100MM, could be an option after the Bucs opted against putting the franchise tag on him.

The Jets believe that their young collection of corners, which includes recent Day 3 draftees like Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, and Michael Carter II, have plenty of promise, but they clearly need a true CB1 to anchor the group. Jackson and Davis certainly fit the bill, though signing either player will put a damper on the flexibility that Douglas covets. Plus, as Costello observes, the Jets’ two top-10 draft choices will receive significant upfront signing bonuses, which will further limit the cash that Douglas has to throw around.

The Jets appear to be at least a year away from true contention, but again, Douglas may need to show some improvement to keep his job. That does not mean that he will spend wildly, but it’s probably fair to expect a little more activity than his recent comments on the matter would suggest.

49ers DT D.J. Jones On Future

49ers defensive tackle D.J. Jones, a 2017 sixth-rounder who agreed to remain with San Francisco on a one-year, $3.5MM pact back in March, is enjoying a breakout campaign. He has positioned himself well for a lucrative, multi-year contract this offseason, and he knows it.

As Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, Jones did not give a canned, cliched answer when recently asked if he was thinking about his upcoming payday. “The way I’m playing, yes sir,” Jones said. “I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that. … I want to retire my father and mother from the barbecue business. I want to make sure my sisters don’t have to do another thing, as long they invest the money that I provide correctly. I completely understand the situation I’m in. I’m not going to say that’s why I’m balling. I’m doing my job for my team. Those are rewards.”

Jones offers a rare combination of strength and speed, and through 12 games in 2021, he has already matched or set career highs in tackles (42) and tackles for loss (seven). He has just one sack, and Pro Football Focus’ metrics paint him as a so-so pass rusher, but his high scores as a run stopper help to counterbalance any deficiencies in that regard. His overall score of 75.7 positions him as the 15th-best interior defender in the league out of 127 qualifiers.

Despite his modest draft status, Jones has developed a reputation as one of the game’s most difficult-to-move D-linemen, a reputation that he credits to his weight room efforts.

“Not bragging, not boasting, but I’ve always been the strongest guy wherever I’ve been,” Jones said. “I feel like that strength comes from endless hours in the weight room. And dedicating myself.”

Branch expects that the 49ers will prioritize a Jones re-up this offseason, and Jones is certainly amenable to continuing his career in the Bay Area. “I would love to stay here,” he said. “I would love to be a 49er for the rest of my career. It’s as simple as that. But we’ll cross that bridge when it comes time.”

WFT’s Jonathan Allen, Jones’ draftmate, has generated higher sack totals and did not take as long as Jones to come into his own. However, the four-year $72MM extension ($35.6MM guaranteed) that Allen signed in July could provide a reasonable benchmark for Jones, even if he doesn’t quite hit those numbers.

49ers To Re-Sign DT D.J. Jones

The 49ers have been locking up a lot of their own guys so far in free agency, and they can check another one of the list. San Francisco is re-signing defensive tackle D.J. Jones, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

Financial terms weren’t immediately available, although Rapoport reports it’s a one-year deal for the big man in the middle. A sixth-round pick back in 2017, Jones just wrapped up his rookie contract. The Ole Miss product played rotationally his first two seasons before becoming a full-time starter in the last two.

He started all 25 games that he appeared in over the past two years, racking up five sacks in those games while mostly being counted on to clog up running lanes. San Francisco’s vaunted defensive front was decimated by injuries last year, and the team is hoping Jones will be a big part of the unit’s bounce back in 2021.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/2/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

49ers’ D.J. Jones Switches Agencies

49ers defensive tackle D.J. Jones has switched agencies and is now represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. The move is significant because Jones is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is eligible for an extension for the first time.

In 2019, Jones was a fairly unheralded member of San Francisco’s excellent defensive front, but he was clearly starting to come into his own. He started all 11 of the team’s games before succumbing to a season-ending ankle injury, and he established himself as a useful run-stuffer.

In 2020, he could have the opportunity to be more. The Niners traded DeForest Buckner to the Colts, and the team is not expected to make Arik Armstead a full-time defensive tackle. Additionally, Sheldon Day departed via free agency, and Jullian Taylor suffered a torn ACL late in the 2019 campaign. So while San Francisco could certainly add an interior defender or two in the coming months, Jones looks to be in line for a larger role. Maiocco suggests that Jones may end up taking some of Buckner’s pass-rushing snaps, which could obviously help him earn a larger payday.

The 2017 sixth-rounder out of Ole Miss did post two sacks last season — the first two of his career — despite being a predominantly two-down player. He is scheduled to earn $825K in 2020, unless he and the 49ers work out an extension ahead of time.

49ers To Activate DE Kentavius Street

Suddenly riddled with injuries throughout their starting lineup, the 49ers will return a player from their injured list. Kyle Shanahan said defensive end Kentavius Street will return from IR to take D.J. Jones‘ roster spot, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets.

Street has yet to play an NFL down. The 2018 fourth-round pick missed all of his rookie season and has spent this one on IR. The 49ers have been patient with the North Carolina State alum but are set to finally see him in action.

An ankle injury ended Jones’ season. He joins Ronald Blair on San Francisco’s IR list. Street’s activation will help a 49ers team that also saw Dee Ford aggravate his hamstring injury. Ford has dealt with maladies throughout his 49ers tenure, and it’s not certain the former Pro Bowler will be back before the playoffs begin.

One of Bradley Chubb‘s sidekicks with the Wolfpack, Street fell to the fourth round because of an ACL tear he suffered before the draft. Street registered eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in his final two college seasons. Although he showed flashes in the 49ers’ preseason slate this year, he was forced to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery in September. The surgery went well, and the team recently designated Street as a candidate to return from IR.

49ers’ D.J. Jones Out For Season

The hits keep coming for the 49ers. On Thursday, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced that defensive tackle D.J. Jones will miss the rest of the season thanks to a serious ankle injury. The Niners placed Jones on IR and they’re expected to fill his spot on the roster on Friday.

This news comes at an inopportune time for San Francisco, as the team is likely to be without Richard Sherman and Dee Ford for multiple games, and Weston Richburg and Marquise Goodwin were recently placed on IR. Jones, while not a household name like Sherman and Ford, has started all eleven games in which he’s appeared this year, and he has served as a solid run-stuffer in the Niners’ excellent defense.

The 49ers selected Jones in the sixth round of the 2017 draft, and he cracked the starting lineup for the first time in 2018, starting four out of the 10 games in which he saw action. This year, he became a fixture along the interior of the D-line and also recorded the first two sacks of his career.

The good news is that the injury to Jones could open the door for Kentavius Street to make his long-awaited debut, according to Shanahan. Street, a fourth-round selection in the 2018 draft, only fell to the fourth round because of an ACL tear he suffered before the draft, and although he showed flashes in the 49ers’ preseason slate this year, he was forced to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery in September. The surgery went well, and the team recently designated Street as a candidate to return from IR.

49ers Sign Five Draft Picks, 16 UDFAs

The 49ers are making quick work of their 2017 draft class, as the club announced today that they’ve signed defensive back Adrian Colbert, defensive lineman D.J. Jones, tight end George Kittle, defensive lineman Pita Taumoepenu, and wide receiver Trent Taylor to rookie contracts. San Francisco also confirmed the previously-reported signing of fourth-round running back Joe Williams.

Additionally, the 49ers have announced the signing of 16 undrafted college free agents: