Chandler Jones said before the start of the NFL's legal tampering period that he was "excited" to test free agency. Hours before the official start of the open market, the former Cardinals All-Pro has found a new home, agreeing to terms on a big-money contract with the Raiders, as NFL Media first reported and CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones confirmed. It's a three-year deal in the neighborhood of $51 million, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. In a subsequent move, Las Vegas is expected to trade fellow pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue to the Colts, per Rapoport.
Jones, 32, was widely considered one of the top free agents remaining after the first two days of legal tampering. He's expected to earn an average of $17 million per year on his deal with the Raiders, who just recently signed starting defensive end Maxx Crosby to a four-year, $95 million extension. A four-time Pro Bowler who's eclipsed double-digit sacks in seven different seasons, Jones was expected to leave the Cardinals this offseason after spending six years as Arizona's top edge defender.
In Vegas, Jones will be reunited with new coach Josh McDaniels, who served as the Patriots' offensive coordinator during the pass rusher's four-year run with New England from 2012-15.
Ngakoue, meanwhile, becomes a casualty of Jones' arrival just one year after signing a two-year, $26 million deal in free agency. The former Pro Bowler logged 10 sacks and started all 17 games in his Raiders debut, but he was due $15 million in 2022, instantly saving Las Vegas at least $7 million by relocating. By joining the Colts, who were expected to be in the market for pass-rushing help, the 26-year-old Ngakoue will move to his fifth team in four years. A dispute over the franchise tag led to his trade from the Jaguars to the Vikings prior to the 2020 season, only for Minnesota to ship him to the Ravens two months later.
By replacing Ngakoue with Jones, SportsLine's Stephen Oh projects the Raiders to improve, "but not enough to make up significant ground when compared to the massive moves made by the Chargers and Broncos" in the same division. Jones' addition boosts SportsLine's projected 2022 win total for the Raiders from 8.0 to 8.2, while increasing their playoff chances by 3.4%.