Jones agreed to a restructured contract with the Falcons on Sunday, Field Yates of ESPN reports. Jones originally was set to make $8.2 million in 2021. However, he agreed to defer $4 million of salary to the 2022 season, and in return his 2022 salary became fully guaranteed. The move freed up $4 million in salary-cap space for the Falcons. Jones will handle a crucial role in Atlanta again next season after recording 106 tackles, six pass breakups and 4.5 sacks across 16 games last year.
Jones, who registered four tackles during Sunday's 44-27 loss to the Buccaneers, ended the 2020 season with 106 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 10 QB hits, 4.5 sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and one defensive touchdown. Jones notched a 67-yard pick-six off of Las Vegas' Derek Carr in Week 12. Otherwise, he largely struggled in coverage this season. The 2017 Pro Bowler surrendered a 74.1 percent completion rate and six touchdowns over 54 targets, a notable decline from the 58.5 completion percentage and four passing TDs he conceded in 16 games last season. Meanwhile, Jones was deployed more than ever in pass-rush, blitzing on 61 occasions after registering 41 combined blitzes in 22 appearances between 2018 and 2019. Results translated, as in 16 games, Jones exceeded his QB hits total from his first 53 career appearances between 2016 and 2019 (six). The linebacker is signed with Atlanta through 2023, carrying a cap hit of $12.6 million next season.
Jones (toe) was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice, Will McFadden of the Falcons' official site reports. Jones hasn't yet missed a game this season, and that he's still practicing in a limited fashion would seem to hint that he's on track for Week 16. As long as Jones' practice reps aren't downgraded ahead of Sunday's road game against the Chiefs, he should draw his usual start at middle linebacker.
Jones registered a team-high 10 tackles, including one sack, during Sunday's 31-27 loss to the Buccaneers. The LSU product registered two QB hits on Tom Brady, pushing his 2020 sack total to 4.5 with a second-quarter takedown of the Canton-bound signal-caller. That mark more than quadruples a previous career high in sacks for Jones, who has been deployed 50 times as a blitzer this season. In 22 starts between 2018 and 2019, Jones blitzed on a combined 41 occasions.
Jones registered 10 tackles and one fumble recovery during Sunday's 21-16 loss to the Saints. Given his fourth-quarter fumble recovery, courtesy of a Steven Means sack on Taysom Hill, Jones has now generated takeaways in back-to-back games. The 2017 Pro Bowler stands with 78 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions to his ledger as Atlanta prepares to face the recently shut out Chargers in Week 14. Austin Ekeler presents a unique challenge to Jones and Co. as a high-level pass catcher out of the backfield.
|2||09/19||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19|
|3||09/26||@New York Giants||13|
|4||10/03||Washington Football Team||4|
|5||10/10||New York Jets||11|
|9||11/07||@New Orleans Saints||21|
|11||11/18||New England Patriots||22|
|13||12/05||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19|
|15||12/19||@San Francisco 49ers||14|