The defensive lineman broke out as one of the Ravens’ best defenders in 2013, and is now set to cash in on the free agent market.
“He has definitely put himself in a position that teams could definitely bid on him very high because if you put the tape on, they’re going to like him a lot,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said during an interview at the combine.
Jones, 27, is known as a staunch defender in the run game and has also developed his skills as a pass rusher. He finished last season with 53 tackles and four sacks. He was rated as the team’s second-best defender behind outside linebacker
The Ravens would like the re-sign Jones, but the market will dictate his asking price.
“How it pans out, what the numbers actually are, it remains to be seen,” Harbaugh said. “But he’s earned that.”
Jones could follow the path of some of his recent defensive predecessors like linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, who both signed rich contracts last offseason. Kruger signed a reported five-year, $41 million contract with the Browns, and Ellerbe signed a reported five-year $35 million deal with Miami.
Now Jones has his chance.
“I’m always happy when guys have an opportunity on our team. As a coach, you feel a certain sense of reward when players accomplish that because it’s a big deal,” Harbaugh said. “It’s probably the one contract that he’ll have a chance to sign, [as far as] a real big one. Guys that sign two big contracts, that’s very unusual. Three almost never happens, so you never feel bad about a guy getting an opportunity.”
The Ravens drafted Jones in the fifth round (No. 157) out of Syracuse in the 2010 draft. He was a reserve his first two years in the league before developing into a starter during the 2012 season.
In his four years, Jones has 118 tackles, 8.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
“You never want to lose a good player,” Harbaugh said. “But from a personal standpoint, you have to feel good about that. Now, whether we can match that [contract offer] or not, that’s all in the math.”