Justin Jones contract projection: Three years, $15 million ($9 million guaranteed)
This is easily the hardest contract to project among the LA Chargers free agents this offseason. Justin Jones showed that he has a lot of value to the Chargers run defense and is a crucial player to bring back this offseason. However, his numbers do not jump off the page and it is not the hardest thing in the world to find a run-stuffing defensive tackle (even though the Chargers have struggled to do so).
The last thing the Chargers want to do is bid against themselves. As valuable as Jones is to the team, he might not be as valuable to other teams on the open market. The Chargers still have to respect Jones and give him a contract that properly values him, but with other guys like Akiem Hicks, the Bolts cannot overpay him.
The number I landed at was $15 million over three years. There really is not a direct comparison to this contract but there are players that I think Jones is better than and some that he is slightly worse than who got similar deals. That helped me Goldilocks this to this projection.
For example, Jones is better than Adam Butler, who signed a two-year, $9 million contract last offseason. However, I would put Jones under A'Shawn Robinson, who signed a three-year, $18 million deal in the 2020 offseason.
Jones gets the three years that Robinson got and gets paid slightly more per season than Butler, making $5 million per year. The Chargers can frontload the guaranteed money, paying him his full guaranteed salary this year and $4 million guaranteed next year. The third year can essentially be a shadow year that they can get out of if needed.