December 11, 2017
When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Sidney Jones in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, they did so knowing that he would not available to play anytime soon. Jones ruptured his Achilles at his pro day back in March and had surgery to repair it before the draft in April.
Had he stayed healthy during the pre-draft process, Jones would have been a target of the Eagles with the 14th-overall pick in the first round, but because of his injury concerns, Jones slid to the second round, where the Birds snapped him up.
On Monday, Doug Pederson announced that Jones will begin practicing for the first time this week.
Jones has been on the NFI (non-football injury) list for the entirety of the 2017 season. At any time, he was eligible to begin practicing for the duration of three weeks, at which point the Eagles would have to decide to add him to the active 53-man roster or shut him down for the season on IR. That three-week clock will begin when Jones practices for the first time on Wednesday.
Jones' rookie contract, like all drafted rookie contracts, is a four-year deal. Under normal circumstances, he would be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of those four seasons. However, if Jones does not participate in at least six games during the 2017 season, that would not count as an "Accrued Season," thus making him a restricted free agent at the end of his contract, and far easier to keep under contract for an additional year.
In other words, the Eagles will have Jones under their control at a reasonable financial cost through the 2021 season, while also having the benefit of getting a look at him at the end of this season.
With four cornerbacks – Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, and Rasul Douglas – having played well most of the season, as well as a capable fifth cornerback/safety in Jaylen Watkins, the Eagles have no shortage of depth at the position. Jones simply adds to it, though he is something of an unknown wrapped Christmas gift.
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