Jones was arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and booked into the Duval County Jail earlier this evening. The 28-year-old was charged with domestic battery causing bodily harm, which DiRocco notes is a first-degree misdemeanor. Jones’ first court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow morning.
“We are aware of the situation and are in the midst of gathering information,” the Jaguars said in a statement (via DiRocco). “We will have no further comment at this time.”
Jones has been limited to only three games this season, hauling in five catches for 55 yards and one touchdown. He’s sat out the last six games, including the past four thanks to a knee injury.
The receiver signed a three-year, $24MM deal with the Jaguars during the 2022 offseason. He finished his first season in Jacksonville with 841 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. The former second-round pick spent the first two-plus seasons of his career with the Bills before playing for the Raiders between 2019 and 2021.
As the Jaguars transition from spending wildly in 2022 to a 2023 free agency period featuring little action in terms of outside hires, they are going down to the wire with two priority players.
The Jags’ interest in re-signingEvan Engram has been on the radar for a while, but Jawaan Taylor is also a keeper candidate for the resurgent team. GM Trent Baalke confirmed Engram and Taylor talks are ongoing, as the Combine annually ignites discussions between teams and key free agents.
Engram has joined Taylor in indicating he would like to stay in Jacksonville, and NFL.com’s James Palmer points to optimism a deal will be reached (Twitter link). Particularly with Engram, this will be a time-sensitive matter. The Jags have not ruled out tagging either Engram or Taylor, but with the tight end tag checking in at barely $11MM, Engram profiles as the likelier candidate to be cuffed. It would cost the Jags $18.2MM to tag Taylor.
“I think with Jawaan and Evan, I don’t want to speak for them, they know how we feel about them, and I think we know how they feel about us, and there’s a win-win in there somewhere. We’ve just got to get to that,” Baalke said, via the Florida Times-Union’s Demetrius Harvey. “We’ve got a nice window here before free agency starts, and our goal is to try to close those deals within that window.”
Given Engram’s interest in coming back, it should not be considered a lock the Jaguars will lose the seventh-year veteran if they pass on tagging him by the March 7 deadline. But that is the failsafe point for the Jags, who gave the ex-Giants first-rounder a one-year deal worth $9MM in 2022 and saw him produce a single-season franchise record for tight end receiving yards (766). Engram, 28, staying would further strengthen Jacksonville’s receiving corps, which has Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Calvin Ridley under contract.
Taylor’s path is a bit more complicated. The Jags already tagged left tackle Cam Robinson twice, eventually extending him last year. The tackle landscape reveals the either/or decisions teams have made recently regarding payments; clubs with big-ticket left tackle deals on their respective payrolls have not doled out much money to right tackles. Robinson’s $17.9MM-per-year pact ranks seventh at left tackle. The Jags have Walker Little as a possible option to succeed Taylor, who would be poised to do well on the market, with dependable O-linemen being coveted commodities annually.
Robinson’s meniscus tear, however, clouds the Jags’ plans here. Robinson would tentatively be on track to return by Week 1, but Doug Pederson confirmed his potential unavailability factors into the Taylor talks. Taylor, 25, has never missed a game as a pro.
The Jags do have more money to work with as they navigate these negotiations now. They recently restructured the contracts of Kirk, Jones, Brandon Scherff and Foye Oluokun, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitterlinks). Altogether, this created $36MM-plus in cap space. Jacksonville has boosted its total to $16.1MM, as of Wednesday afternoon.
The team has re-signed Roy Robertson-Harris to a three-year, $30MM deal, keeping the D-line starter off the market. That contract is already factored into the team’s updated payroll. Engram and/or Taylor may follow suit; each would be free to negotiate with other teams beginning March 13.
Jacksonville’s spending spree continues. Zay Jones is headed to Florida on a three-year agreement, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
This deal comes not long after the Jags agreed to give Christian Kirktop-10 receiver money. They are signing Jones for three years and $24MM, with RapSheet adding the contract can max out at $30MM. The deal contains $14MM in guaranteed money, with his 2022 and 2023 base salaries fully guaranteed (per PFF’s Doug Kyed on Twitter). The deal also includes up to $1MM in incentives for each year of the deal.
A former second-round Bills pick, Zay Jones resurfaced as a decent Raiders option last season. With Henry Ruggs being cut midseason, the Raiders depended more on Jones than they had previously. He caught 47 passes — 33 more than he did in 16 2020 games — for 546 yards and a touchdown last season. While this contract is somewhat surprising, considering Jones reupped with the Raiders for one year and $2.5MM in 2021, the Jags clearly believe he can sustain that performance level.
Doubling as one of the most expensive days in Jaguars history, Monday has also included deals with Brandon Scherff, Folorunso Fatukasi and Foyesade Oluokun. The team that won four games over the past two seasons is certainly bringing in talent, regardless of cost.
The Raiders cut Henry Ruggs on Tuesday night. The team announced the transaction, which comes shortly after the second-year wide receiver was arrested for his role in a fatal car accident Tuesday morning.
Ruggs is facing two felony charges for an accident that left a woman dead. Las Vegas police say that Ruggs was impaired when his Corvette crashed into another car and killed the driver of the other vehicle. The accident occurred just before 4am in a residential neighborhood west of the Las Vegas Strip. Ruggs and a passenger in his vehicle were hospitalized. Upon being released from a Las Vegas-area hospital Tuesday, Ruggs was booked at the Clark County Detention Center.
Authorities identified the victim as a 23-year-old woman. The collision caused the victim’s vehicle to burst into flames, killing the woman and her dog, according to ESPN.com. Ruggs faces charges of DUI resulting in death and reckless driving. The first charge carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years in prison. The second runs from probation to six years. Ruggs, 22, is due to appear in court Wednesday.
Ruggs and a female passenger in his Corvette suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The woman who was in Ruggs’ car remains hospitalized. Raiders players returned to the team’s Henderson, Nev., facility Monday, after their bye week, but had another day off Tuesday, according to ESPN.
Although players hit with felony charges are eligible for the commissioner’s exempt list, which keeps those players on teams’ rosters while legal matters play out, the Raiders acted swiftly to move on from Ruggs. This marks an abrupt end to Ruggs’ Raiders tenure, and the former Alabama standout’s NFL career is obviously in serious jeopardy. Ruggs will head to waivers, though that will almost certainly be irrelevant here. The Raiders have a clear path to voiding the remaining guarantees in Ruggs’ four-year, $16.67MM rookie contract. Ruggs’ deal was fully guaranteed.
Some Raiders staffers preferred Ruggs’ Alabama teammate, Jerry Jeudyin last year’s first round, but the team made Ruggs the first receiver drafted in 2020. Las Vegas drafted Ruggs with the 12th overall pick. The deep threat struggled as a rookie, catching 26 passes for 452 yards in 13 games. Ruggs had shown improvement to become a more consistent part of Las Vegas’ offense this season, having made 24 receptions for 469 yards and two touchdowns through seven games.
Acquired nearly two years ago via in-season trade, Zay Jones will stay with the Raiders. The former second-round pick will stay in Las Vegas on a one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
With Nelson Agholor impressing on a low-end contract last season, Jones did not have much of a role on offense. The ex-Bills draftee caught just 14 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. This came after a 20-reception, 147-yard debut slate in Oakland two seasons ago. But Jones will be back to team with the likes of Hunter Renfrow and 2020 draft picks Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards.
John Brown‘s arrival, however, figures to relegate Jones to largely a special teams role. Brown’s Bills signing in 2019 helped lead Jones to Oakland, with Buffalo shipping the former starter west early in the 2019 season. The East Carolina product caught 56 passes for 652 yards and seven touchdowns during Josh Allen‘s 2018 debut season but has been quiet on the receiving front since.
Agholor agreed to terms with the Patriots on the first day of free agency, but Jones’ return along with his three younger receiver mates will bring the most continuity to this group since Jon Gruden returned to the Raiders. The team has shuffled up its aerial corps consistently during Gruden’s tenure. As of now, the Raiders look to feature a familiar receiving crew next season.
ZayJones is off to Oakland. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports (via Twitter) that the Bills have traded the wideout to the Raiders. In return, Buffalo will receive a 2021 fifth-round pick.
The 2017 second-round pick seemed to turn a corner in 2018 following an underwhelming rookie campaign. In 16 games (15 starts), Jones hauled in 56 receptions for 652 yards and seven scores. However, the 24-year-old saw a reduced role in 2019, as he caught only seven passes for 69 yards through his team’s first five games (including two starts).
This past weekend, Jones only played a single snap after being passed on the depth chart by former CFL player DukeWilliams. SeanMcDermott acknowledged Jones’ reduced role during his press conference today, noting the receiver’s team-first approach.
“He’s just got to continue to do his job,” McDermott said. “You saw we made some plays at the wide receiver position. Zay’s a guy that continues to grow. He’s still young in his career. He’ll continue to do a good job as he continues to grow, and focus on what he can control. I appreciate his team first approach yesterday.”
The Patriots signed veteran wideout Eric Decker to a one-year deal last week, but New England actually had its eyes on Decker as early as the 2010 draft, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com explains. Decker was “squarely in [the Patriots’] sights” at pick No. 90 in that draft, but the Minnesota product ended up going off the board three picks earlier to the Broncos, who at that time were lead by now-New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. After recording 54 receptions for 563 yards a season ago, Decker has effectively replaced Jordan Matthews as the Patriots’ slot receiver, at least until Julian Edelman returns from suspension. Decker received only $75K in guaranteed money, however, so he’s far from a roster lock in New England.
Here’s more from the AFC East:
Bills receiver Zay Jones has been activated off the active/non-football injury list, but was wearing a red contact jersey during his first day back at practice, tweets Joe Buscaglia of WKBW. Jones underwent knee surgery in May and missed Buffalo’s offseason program, but the club has expressed hope that Jones — who was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft — will be ready for the regular season. After an offseason which included not only an operation but a bizarre arrest, the Bills have been adamant that Jones won’t be handed a starting spot. Buffalo’s wideout depth chart is among the worst in the league, though, so it will be surprising if Jones isn’t lining up opposite Kelvin Benjamin as the Bills’ No. 2 pass-catcher.
After being traded from the Saints to the Dolphins last season, linebacker Stephone Anthony appears set to open the 2018 campaign as a starting outside linebacker, Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald writes. Anthony has disappointed in four NFL seasons after being chosen as a first-round pick, and the Dolphins subsequently declined his fifth-year option for the 2019 season. That would have paid Anthony nearly $10MM next year, but as Fernandez details, Miami could conceivably extend Anthony if he succeeds this season.
The Jets recently expanded their analytics department by hiring former scout Brian Shields as a senior manager of football research, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. That’s a new role within the New York front office, per Cimini, who indicates general manager Mike Maccagnan is becoming more open to the use of analytics in the NFL.
Zack Martin just inked a massive extension with the Cowboys, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com wonders what effect Martin’s contract will have on Shaq Mason‘s future with the Patriots. Mason is not on the same level as Martin or Andrew Norwell — who signed a similarly large deal with the Jaguars this offseason — but he is still a very good guard and should command upwards of $10MM per year when he hits free agency at the end of the 2018 campaign. Reiss is skeptical that New England will pony up that much cash for a guard, so this could be Mason’s last year in Foxborough.
Reiss also observes that other key players, like DE Trey Flowers and K Stephen Gostkowski, are entering the last year of their respective contracts, but he does not offer an opinion as to how those negotiations will play out.
Now for more notes from the AFC:
More details have emerged regarding the arrest of Jets‘ rookie TE Chris Herndon. Herndon, a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, was charged with driving while intoxicated several weeks ago, and per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, an eyewitness told New Jersey State Police that an SUV believed to be driven by Herndon was traveling at least 100 mph. Herndon’s SUV flipped after colliding with another vehicle, which caught fire, and the SUV slid approximately 700 feet after initial contact. Eyewitness reports are notoriously shaky, but if this one is accurate, it will not bode well for Herndon, either from an NFL or legal perspective.
The Bills‘ WR corps is pretty thin overall, so second-year wideout Zay Jones — whom the team selected in the second round of the 2017 draft — is generally considered to have a stranglehold on Buffalo’s No. 2 wideout job opposite Kelvin Benjamin. However, Jones has dealt with some issues this offseason, as he was arrested in March and underwent knee surgery, and new GM Brandon Beane said the East Carolina product will not be handed anything. During an interview with WGR 550 (via Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com), Beane said, “He’s not just going to necessarily go right to the top of the line. He’ll have to earn his way. Part of that will just be just getting his feel. He’s only played with Nathan Peterman. He has not got to play with Josh Allen or A.J. [McCarron] yet. So that bond there will just have to form.”
Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle provides an in-depth look at Texans RB D’Onta Foreman‘s recovery from a torn Achilles, which ended his rookie campaign prematurely in November. There is still no specific date for Foreman’s return, and it is unlikely he will be a full participant at the beginning of training camp next month (even the 2018 regular season opener is up in the air at this point). However, the former Texas standout remains confident that he will eventually regain the form that made him a 2017 third-round pick and the heir apparent to Lamar Miller.
The Ravens have some depth along their offensive line, part of which is last year’s fourth-round pick, Nico Siragusa. Siragusa suffered a brutal injury last August, as he tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL. Of course, that ended his rookie campaign before it began, but as Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun writes, Siragusa was able to fully participate in last week’s minicamp. He will compete for a backup role this year and could soon become a starting guard or center if he can remain healthy. Alex Lewis, who also missed the entire 2017 season, is expected to start somewhere along the O-line this year — either at left guard, center, or right tackle — but he was held out of minicamp due to back spasms. Head coach John Harbaugh said Lewis should be ready for training camp, but the Nebraska product’s injury history will be cause for concern until he can manage to stay out of the training room for an extended period of time.
Bills wide receiver Zay Jones underwent knee surgery, head coach Sean McDermott told reporters. Jones will miss the remainder of the offseason program, but the good news is that the team believes he’ll be good to go in time for the start of the regular season.
If Jones is in for a lengthier recovery than expected, the Bills could theoretically look into signing Dez Bryant to help fill the gap. However, GM Brandon Beane didn’t sound gung-ho about the idea back in April.
“We have looked at Dez on tape, but I wouldn’t take it any further and I don’t know where that would go,” Beane said. “We’re looking to get better at all positions and receiver is one, so if we thought that was the right fit for us we would potentially pursue it.”
Here’s more out of Buffalo:
Bills owner Kim Pegula says the financial outlook for a new stadium does not look promising, as Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News writes. “I don’t even know if we can get there,” Pegula said. “I know fans in Buffalo don’t want higher ticket prices, they don’t want [personal seat licenses]. The state [of New York] doesn’t want to give you any money, the city doesn’t. … We don’t have a billion-and-a-half dollars sitting around. We used it to buy the team.” The Bills’ current lease expires in the summer of 2023, but the Bills can opt out in 2020. Given the Pegulas’ ties to Buffalo, it seems unlikely that the team would threaten to move, but it is a situation worth watching.
Bills GM Brandon Beane addressed reporters on Monday morning and discussed the team’s mindset heading into the draft as well as the status of wide receiver Zay Jones. Here’s a look at the highlights:
When asked if he would give up a first-round pick in 2019 to trade up in the 2018 draft, Beane said, “If it makes us a lot better, and if it’s a player that would be worthy of that, yes. We’ll do anything we can to make our roster better. I’m not locked in that I would or I wouldn’t. It would have to make sense and be a player that we really felt strongly about to do that,” (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com).
Don’t expect an intra-divisional trade between the Jets and Bills. At least, that’s what Beane says. “I don’t think [No.] 3 would be available if we were ever going to move up. I’m sure the Jets are happy there. Again, we’re just focused on 12. I don’t know the motivation for their move. You would have to ask them. Our focus is on 12 right now, and all the other picks we have, we’re excited about what we’re going to be able to get done,” (Twitter link via Rodak).
Beane said Zay Jones’ future with the Bills will not be by his bizarre incident from earlier this month (Twitter link via Rodak). In a strange event caught on camera, Jones was fully naked and acting erratically while his brother —Cayleb Jones of the Vikings — attempted to restrain him. Eventually, Jones kicked a hole through a glass window in Cayleb’s girlfriend’s apartment. The receiver was arrested, but the Los Angeles district attorney does not plan to file vandalism charges.