The Oakland Raiders took some baby steps toward getting their house in order on Monday by signing Taiwan Jones to a three-year contract extension and not allowing their special teams ace to enter the final year of his contract without having a deal in place. Originally drafted as a running back, Jones switched over to the defensive side of the ball to play cornerback in 2013.
Seldom used in defensive situations, Jones found his niche and excelled on special teams, leading the Raiders in solo tackles with 13 on the season. With his blazing speed, he also took 26 kickoffs and racked up more than 600 yards on returns for a very respectable 24 yards per return.
The versatile Jones was also involved in the offensive mix, albeit lightly. In 2013, Jones had five carries for 23 yards, good for a 4.6 yards per carry average, and caught two passes for 55 yards.
In a statement released by the team following the signing of his extension, Jones said:
“I was excited when they came to me about the extension. It is definitely a blessing for a local kid to be part of the Raiders’ turnaround. I’ve been an underdog all my life, so I think it’s very fitting for me to remain here. ”
The deal is good for three years and is reported to be worth $4.355 million. Incentives over the life of the deal could put the value up over $5 million which would put Jones among the highest paid special teams players in the league.
With one item checked off of their list now, the Raiders are beginning to get their house for 2014 in order as we near the start of free agency and of course get closer to the impending NFL Draft. Locking Jones down was a smart move and they got him at a terrific price. Give GM Reggie McKenzie credit for making a smart, sound move from both a football and a business standpoint.