The Las Vegas Raiders made their first major roster move by bringing prized pass rusher Chandler Jones on a three-year, $52.5 million contract. Jones has been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL for a long time, totaling 71.5 sacks in his six seasons in Arizona.
Adding a pass rusher to the caliber of Jones was a necessity for the Raiders as the caliber of quarterbacks within their division just took another major leap with the addition of Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos via trade. Add in former MVP Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, whom many consider the best in the league, and the Chargers Justin Herbert, one of the league’s best young QBs and pass rushing is a premium for the Raiders.
But Jones is very familiar with Wilson in particular as the two were NFC West rivals with the Cardinals and Seahawks, respectively. That isn’t lost on Jones, who admitted that he is looking forward to still being able to get after his friend twice a year:
“Yes. (laughter) You see that pause because I was trying to think of something to say,” Jones said. “Yeah, it was exciting. I think I’ve said Russell Wilson more than I’ve sacked anyone. But Russell is a great friend of mine. I’ll say that to him, actually. I’ll FaceTime and call him now, but he’s a great friend of mine. Like I said, he’s a competitor, and he’s a hell of a player. Even having the opportunity to play against him twice a year will be fun. But he thought he could get away from me leaving, but I’m right here with him again. So, that’s going to be fun to get after him a little bit.”
The idea of Jones noticing Wilson went to the NFC West and deciding to join a rival team is hilarious as the two are extremely familiar with each other. Regardless, Jones now pairs with Maxx Crosby to form an elite pass-rushing duo to torment opposing quarterbacks.
Jones tallied double-digit sacks in all but one season with the Cardinals, except in 2020 when he played just five games due to a torn bicep. The Raiders’ offense looks explosive with the addition of Davante Adams, but adding Jones to the defensive line gives the defense a chance to cause some serious damage as well.