In a salary cap saving move, the Detroit Lions released linebacker Christian Jones ahead of free agency, freeing up roughly $2.5 million in cap space and absorbing nearly $2.2 million in dead cap. After two weeks on the free agent market, Jones signed a one-year contract with Chicago Bears, the team that originally drafted him.
During the past three seasons in Detroit, Jones played a variety of linebacker roles. He started at WILL, backed up at MIKE and JACK, but he also saw his snap counts drop each year, falling from 65 percent in 2018, to 53 percent, and finally 46 percent last season.
Despite the decline in on-field opportunities, Jones was very well-liked by the coaching staff and they felt comfortable putting him on the field in a variety of situations. Unfortunately, the production just wasn’t there (and honestly, he wasn’t alone). In three years in Detroit, Jones failed to reach 50 tackles in any season, only registered three sacks, and one turnover (a fumble recovery).
Returning to Chicago should be a solid move for Jones’ career. When the Bears announced the move, they identified him as an inside linebacker, which would allow him to move into a reserve role that he previously found success in. During his four years in Chicago, Jones played inside in three of them, recording at least 70 tackles and a fumble recovery in each season.