There it is.
We were all waiting for the Las Vegas Raiders to join the party and on the third day of free agent movement, they did. In a big way.
In one wild five-minute swing, the Raiders signed superstar pass rusher Chandler Jones and acquired a likely starting cornerback in the form of Rock Ya-Sin. Gone is standout pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue.
My initial reaction to the blockbuster? I like it very much and I’m impressed by the direction, creativity and guts shown by new general manager Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels. They saw all the wild and impressive moves the other teams in the AFC West were making and they knew they had to swing big,
In short, I think these moves makes the Raiders’ defense better and it was accomplished pretty easily.
Jones, an all-time pass-rusher, is a better player and better fit for Patrick Graham’s defense than Ngakoue. Jones has played for new Las Vegas defensive coordinator Patrick Graham in New England and he knows McDaniels and Ziegler.
More specific numbers: It’s a 3-year deal worth $52.5M with $34M guaranteed for Chandler Jones. So, $17.5M a year. https://t.co/lF4Gc5FoR0— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2022
There are some risks, though. Jones is 32 and he missed 11 games in 2020. Plus. he will be expensive as he has signed a three-year $51 deal with Las Vegas. But he fits and he will make a MONSTER pass-rush duo with Maxx Crosby, who just signed a four-year extension himself.
If you think Ngakoue did wonders for Crosby’ game in 2021, wait and see the impact Jones has on it.
And, yes, even though, Graham has been shy about the transition to a 3-4 front, this move makes it clear that will be Las Vegas’ base. But, yes, in the end, it’s about being multiple.
Plus on Wednesday, the Raiders joined the AFC West pass rush frenzy, keeping up very nicely. This is a great quarterback division and all the defenses are well prepared for it. This season is going to be incredible. Oh by the way, Jones has sacked new Denver quarterback Russell Wilson 16.5 times in his career, a nice chunk of his 107.5 sacks in his 10 NFL seasons.
Edge rushers in the AFC West:— Matt Verderame (@MattVerderame) March 16, 2022
Broncos: Randy Gregory, Bradley Chubb
Raiders: Chandler Jones, Maxx Crosby
Chargers: Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa
Chiefs: Frank Clark and Mike Danna
KC has a lot of work to do in this area
The Rock Ya-Sin move is nice as well. He is a solid cornerback who will likely a starting cornerback. Like Ngakoue, he will be a free agent next year. So, with new deals needed for quarterback Derek Carr and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow. Ya-Sin may be a one-year rental. But Ngakoue may have been ending a two-year stay here had he stayed, anyway. So, let’s worry about that another day.
Rock Ya-Sin: 5th highest graded Cornerback in man coverage this season (81.4) pic.twitter.com/u0yXJ6mngf— PFF IND Colts (@PFF_Colts) February 15, 2022
#raiders will carry $8m dead for Ngakoue. Will pick up $7m in cap space with the trade. #colts on the hook for $13m— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) March 16, 2022
These moves can also change Las Vegas’ free agency and draft approach. If the Raiders’ 2022 defense makes big strides, the catalyst will be Wednesday’s major moves.
The rest of the AFC West put the Raiders on notice and now the Raiders have returned the favor. Game on.