By all accounts, Taiwan Jones is a good guy. His teammates say he is, obviously the coaches and organization like him — so I want to preface everything I'm about to say with the statement, "this isn't personal".
That said, I've never been so terrified of a four-year, $5 million contract in my life.
As every optimist in Oakland knows, the Raiders have more money to spend this off-season than any team in the league. As every pessimist in Oakland knows, the Raiders also have more holes than anyone to fill this off-season. With those two thoughts in mind, the question of how Oakland plans to spend its money is one on the mind of players, coaches and fans around the league.
Unfortunately for Raiders fans, the Taiwan Jones signing might just be a bad sign of things to come. How, you might be asking? Think of it this way: Reggie McKenzie has never had a lot of money to spend, so while we can applaud his ability to find players on the cheap, we've never seen what he could do with a large bankroll.
Now, this off-season, with money to spend, how does Reggie kick things off? By paying the 15th best kick returner in the league and a guy who isn't good enough to play offense or defense nearly $1.5 million a year in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Jones was drafted to play offense, and despite injuries to Darren McFadden, he never developed into much on offense. After two seasons, head coach Dennis Allen liked the guy so much he figured he would try his luck with Jones on defense. In 2013, Jones played just ten snaps on defense — guess that didn't work out so well.
But how was Jones rewarded? With a three-year extension to a contract that was 12 months from expiring!
Now many of you will recite Oakland's company line regarding the signing: he's a valuable special teams guy!
In 2013, Jones had the No. 15 kickoff return average in the league (with zero touchdowns and a long of 41 yards) and recorded 14 tackles. Time for a raise Taiwan!
Here's the question Oakland should have been asking themselves: if Jones hit the market tomorrow, what would he make? In reality, the question could actually be, would Taiwan Jones even make a roster?
By ignoring both of those questions, McKenzie has given Jones far more than he's worth and that's terrifying when we consider that all the money Reggie has left to spend could simply be an opportunity for more bad contracts.
Now, obviously this is one example and it isn't a guarantee that Reggie is on the verge of going crazy — my point is just that with the first move of the off-season I don't think Reggie is off to a great start.
Then again, I guess it can only go up from here.