Jones-Drew gets ‘opportunity’ he wanted from Raiders


Maurice Jones-Drew is back in the Bay Area, where he was born, raised and prepped at De La Salle High School. This time, it’s for more than the offseason now that he is a member of the Raiders.
Jones-Drew, 29, signed a three-year contract with the Raiders on Friday, the latest big-name free agent to join the Raiders as part of their massive roster makeover.
He brings an impressive resume with him, having amassed 10,944 yards and 79 touchdowns rushing and receiving in his first eight NFL seasons, all with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jones-Drew said he also brings a chip on his shoulder, something he feels makes him fit right in with a Raiders roster chock full of castoffs from other teams.
“It’s something that’s going to drive us and push us to that next level,” Jones-Drew said in a conference call.
Jones-Drew said he received interest from other teams since the start of free agency. However, he wasn’t interested in mentoring younger players or being a backup.
“It’s going to be a competition and that’s really all I ask,” Jones-Drew said of being told that he’ll get a chance to earn the starting job. “… I only wanted a chance to compete and play. The Raiders gave me that opportunity, and I’m going to take it and run with it.”
Jones-Drew made the most of his opportunity with the Jaguars once he earned the starting job. He rushed for 4,321 yards and 28 touchdowns and caught 130 passes from 2009-11.
Injuries each of the past two seasons hampered Jones-Drew, he said, and a surgery in 2012 might have scared off teams from taking a chance on him this offseason.
Jones-Drew acknowledged that he had a down year last season, when he averaged a career-low 3.4 yards rushing. However, he said a lot of that owed to playing injured so often. He’s healthy and ready to go now.
“I have a ton left in my game,” Jones-Drew said. “People tend to look at running backs and say, ‘Oh, you’re 29, you don’t have anything left.’ … I feel like I have a ton left in the tank and I get an opportunity to show that here in Oakland.”
Jones-Drew said he is excited about the prospect of competing against incumbent starter Darren McFadden for playing time, if not the starting job.
“He kind of has a leg up on me because he’s been in this offense already before,” Jones-Drew said. “My job is to come in and to compete to play. … We both have something to prove and that will help us all out in the long run, competing and being able to push each other.”
Jones-Drew also welcomes the challenge of helping the Raiders end a playoff drought that extends 11 seasons.
The Raiders last won more games in a season when they lost back in 2002, when they advanced to the Super Bowl.
“We have a chance to compete for a division (title) and compete for the playoffs. That’s what you really want to play for, to be a part of that building process, not necessarily for a team that’s already there.”
In other news, defensive tackle Pat Sims re-signed with the Raiders and defensive end C.J. Wilson signed with the Raiders after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
Sims, 28, started all 16 games for the Raiders last season and anchored their defensive line. He is expected to compete for playing time on the interior of the Raiders line with recent acquisition Antonio Smith and holdover Stacy McGee.


Jones-Drew passes physical, signs contract with Raiders; Sims re-signs


Running back Maurice Jones-Drew passed a physical Friday morning, and he signed a three-year contract with the Raiders a short time later.
Jones-Drew returns to the Bay Area, where he grew up and starred for De La Salle High School, after spending his first eight NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
A conference call with Jones-Drew likely will take place this afternoon. Several of his new teammates Tweeted about their excitement over Jones-Drew joining a Raiders roster that bears little resemblance from last season.
With the Raiders, Jones-Drew is expected to compete for playing time, if not the starting job, against the likes of Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray.
Jones-Drew, 29, led the league in rushing in 1,606 yards. A foot injury cut short his 2012 season. Last season, he averaged a career-worst 3.4 yards rushing.
In other news, defensive tackle Pat Sims re-signed with the Raiders, according to a Tweet from Sims’ agent.
Sims, 28, started all 16 games for the Raiders last season and anchored their defensive line. He is expected to team with recent acquisition Antonio Smith and holdover Stacy McGee to lock down the interior of the Raiders line this season.


Raiders have the need, money to sign WR Jackson


The release of DeSean Jackson by the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday gives the Raiders a rare opportunity to secure a No. 1 wide receiver in free agency. It just so happens that the Raiders have the money to make it happen, too.
Despite a flurry of free-agency acquisitions and a trade for starting quarterback Matt Schaub within the past three weeks, the Raiders still have plenty of salary-cap room to pay Jackson the kind of money he is going to command, both up front and long-term.
Jackson, 27, is durable, productive and fast. He’s also a proven lead receiver, something the Raiders have lacked since Tim Brown retired.
The Raiders signed veteran receiver James Jones earlier this month. However, he is more of a complementary receiver. The same holds true for the Raiders other receivers under contract – Denarius Moore, Rod Streater and Andre Holmes, et al.
Jackson, who starred at Cal, was released in his prime, without a reason given by the Eagles. A story by NJ.com Friday that said the final straw for the Eagles was Jackson’s tied with gang members.
In an Instagram post shortly after his release, Jackson said: “Steady grind mode. God got the plan, not me!” The post showed Jackson sprinting on a track.
Jackson set career-highs with 82 receptions and 1,332 yards last season. He also tied his career-best with nine touchdowns.


Report: Raiders, Jones-Drew reach agreement on contract


The Raiders and veteran running back Maurice Jones-Drew agreed to terms on a three-year contract Friday pending a physical, according to an ESPN report.
Jones-Drew, 29, spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His best season came in 2011, when he led the league with 1,606 yards rushing.
He struggled through the worst season of his NFL career in 2013, when he finished with a 3.4-yard average rushing.
Jones-Drew graduated from De La Salle High School and grew up in the Bay Area. Now it appears as if he will get an opportunity to resurrect his career in front of friends and family.
It’s unclear how the Raiders intend to use Jones-Drew. They re-signed Darren McFadden to a one-year contract at the start of free agency. McFadden has been the Raiders lead back when healthy for most of his six-year NFL career.
Just the same, McFadden also is seeking to prove that he still merits consideration as a starting back. He averaged 3.3 yards rushing each of the past two seasons.
The Raiders also have Latavius Murray, Jeremy Stewart and Kory Sheets on their roster as options at running back.