Chandler Jones’ status remains up in the air for the Las Vegas Raiders. He was held out of the Week 1 game against the Denver Broncos for personal reasons and the team has yet to give details about how long he might be out.
Jones is a highly-paid and important player for the team so not having him on the field is an issue. If the situation is beyond a resolution, the Raiders could have trade options, according to Bleacher Report. Alex Ballentine pitched a trade that sent Jones to the Philadelphia Eagles for defensive end Derek Barnett.
“Derek Barnett has been a frustrating player for them. The former first-round pick has a career-high of 6.5 sacks and was only able to play in one game last season due to a knee injury,” Ballentine wrote in a September 13 column.
“ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (h/t ESPN’s Tim McManus) reported that Barnett is gauging interest from other teams as he seeks a trade somewhere he can get more playing time. He’s in the final year of his current deal and is set to hit free agency.”
Barnett doesn’t have the upside that Jones has but he’d be able to get on the field. This isn’t a fair trade for the Raiders from a talent perspective but if Jones isn’t going to play, it’s better to get something for him than nothing.
Adding Derek Barnett Allows Tyree Wilson to Take His Time
Based on Week 1, it’s clear that rookie first-round pick Tyree Wilson needs some work. He finished with a 40.5 Pro Football Focus grade, which was the worst on the entire Raiders defense. He missed offseason workouts and most of training due to a foot injury sustained during his senior season at Texas Tech.
He needs some time to get back into game shape. Adding a dependable veteran like Derek Barnett would take some pressure off of having to rush Wilson onto the field, per Alex Ballentine.
“With Tyree Wilson still working his way back into shape from the foot injury that cost him the offseason, there would be plenty of snaps for Barnett to try and earn a new contract,” Ballentine wrote. “Jones would have the opportunity to join a true contender over the next two seasons.”
Wilson isn’t ready for a heavy workload quite yet so the Raiders do need a solution to the Jones situation quickly.
Las Vegas Raiders DL Needs to Improve
The Raiders defensive line looked like it would be the strength of the defense in training camp. However, they had a rough opener against the Broncos. Defensive end Maxx Crosby was excellent as he always is and earned an 89.7 Pro Football Focus grade – the best on the defense.
Unfortunately, no other Raiders defensive lineman finished with better than a 59.0 grade (John Jenkins). The fact that Chandler Jones was out certainly hurt but one player shouldn’t affect the defensive line that much. The Raiders don’t have great depth at linebacker or in the secondary so the defensive line is going to have to be the most impactful group on the defense. It wasn’t the best start to the season but the talent and depth are there for it to be a much improved group as the season goes on.
Austin Boyd has covered the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Lakers for Heavy.com since 2019. Born and raised in Los Angeles, his featured work at Heavy includes interviews with NFL stars Darren Waller and Joe Montana, and a behind-the-scenes look at “The Shop.” More about Austin Boyd
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