From Adam Schefter of ESPN:
Raiders giving former Packers WR James Jones a three-year deal.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2014
Financial details of the contract have not been disclosed.
Jones spent the first seven seasons of his career all in Green Bay, including being part of the team's Super Bowl XLV victory in 2010.
While never the team's No. 1 wide receiver, James Jones molded himself into a valuable contributor to the Packers' aerial attack since being a third round draft choice in 2007, first as a target of quarterback Brett Favre in his rookie season and later to Aaron Rodgers.
In the aftermath of the team's Super Bowl win, Jones found little interest on the free agent market, returning to the Packers on a three-year contract worth $9.7 million. A similar situation played out this season with Jones not being part of the first wave of free agency that saw many mega-deals being signed across the league.
Perhaps Jones' best season came in 2012 when he led the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns. He also had a career-high 64 catches for 784 yards as Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson battled with injuries throughout the year. For his efforts, Jones was named a Packers' postseason captain.
This past season Jones had another solid year, on par with many of his in Green Bay, grabbing 59 passes for 817 yards and three touchdowns.
Over time, Jones worked on curbing his dropped passes, which occurred too frequently in his first few seasons in the NFL. His dropped pass totals fell from a career-high 10 in 2009 to just three in 2013, according to ProFootballFocus.com (premium content).
Without knowing the exact terms of his contract, the Packers very likely will receive a compensatory draft choice in 2015 by virtue of losing Jones in free agency. Jones is the second unrestricted free agent the Packers have lost this offseason, both on the offensive side of the football, joining Evan Dietrich-Smith, who inked a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jones joins a productive bunch of receivers in Oakland that also includes Rod Streater and Denarius Moore but a question mark at quarterback where Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin are fighting for the job. He'll be reunited with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who was a personnel excutive in Green Bay for much of Jones' career.
Moving to the Bay Area also signifies a homecoming for Jones, who played his college football at San Jose State and grew up in the area. Jones' overcame a chilhood with occasional bouts of homelessnes to make it to the NFL.
The Packers appeared willing to let Jones leave in free agency after the emergence of Jarrett Boykin last season when he caught 49 passes for 681 yards and three touchdowns in the first extended playing time of his burgeoning career.
Rodgers will lean heavily on a group in 2014 that includes Boykin, Nelson and Randall Cobb.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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