The Oakland Raiders announced the first of what could be many newly-issued contracts Monday, with the extension their 2011 fourth round pick.
Running back to cornerback convert Taiwan Jones agreed to a three-year extension with Oakland, keeping him in town until at least 2017. He is beginning the final year of his rookie deal and the extension is worth $4.355 million over three years, according to profootballtalk.com.
Jones said via press release:
“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.”
After converting to cornerback in the summer of 2013, Jones made key contributions on special teams with 12 tackles and 26 kickoff returns for 623 yards last season for a 27-yard-average. Numbers like that just might the extension that will make him the league’s highest paid special-teamer.
The switch from running back to corner was also one that he’d made while playing at the University of Eastern Washington, though in reverse. Jones made the original college switcheroo just before his final two seasons, adding to his potential and versatility.
Jones finished his career as Eastern Washington’s fourth-leading rusher with 2,995 rushing yards on 383 carries and 29 touchdowns. He was named the 2010 Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year in his junior season.
“It’s a blessing. It’s rare to see and to know that my local team wants me to stay home … there are big things coming that I am happy to be part of it.”
Hoping to elevate his game to pro-bowl caliber, Jones should more help, given that the Raiders could have as much as $70 million in cap space when free agency begins on March 15th. Oakland currently has around $64 million available.
Jones, 25, has averaged 4.3 yards on 27 carries, along with 810 kickoff return yards on 36 returns and 32 special teams tackles and two fumble recoveries in three NFL seasons.