YSTL: 1-on-1 with Raiders special teams ace Taiwan Jones
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Taiwan Jones had another year left on his rookie deal. The Raiders didn’t want him entering a contract year. They locked Jones up with a three-year contract extension that employs him through the 2017 season.
According Jones' agent, the extension is worth $4.355 million. Jones will make $5 million over the life of deal, which will make him one of the highest-paid special teams players. His 2014 salary of $645,000 remains unchanged.
Jones emerged as a special-teams ace in 2013, a niche that made him valuable after struggling to entrench himself as a running back. The fourth-round pick from Eastern Washington was converted to defensive back last offseason but secured a roster spot with excellent play in the kicking game.
Jones excelled as a gunner in punt coverage and averaged 24 yards per kickoff return last season.
The Bay Area native, who played prep football at Antioch Deer Valley High, was pleased to remain in Oakland for the prime of his career and was eager to sign an extension well before becoming eligible for free agency.
“I was excited when they came to me about the extension,” Jones said in a statement released by the team. “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. I’m definitely excited about it.
“It’s a blessing. It’s rare to see and to know that my local team wants me to stay home, and it’s just a blessing. I’m glad to be part of it, happy to remain here and there are big things coming that I am happy to be part of it. I feel good about next year. Obviously, I was able to do a lot of good things on special teams last year. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the Pro Bowl last year, but that is something I’m shooting for this year.”