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I don’t know who needs to hear this but I’ll say it anyway.
Chandler Jones isn’t going anywhere.
He’s not hitting free agency. He’s not being traded away. He will remain an Arizona Cardinal this season and moving forward.
The All Pro OLB, fresh off a five-sack deconstruction of the Tennessee Titans, is making the rounds this week as he reminds everyone of the kind of player he is.
Those of us in the Valley have never forgotten.
Acquired once upon a time for a mere second round pick along with bust guard Jonathan Cooper, Jones was said to be another one of Bill Belichick’s famous castoffs. A player that had “overstayed his welcome with the Patriots” and thus shipped out of town due to their request of more guaranteed dollars.
The blueprint was established in New England with the likes of Richard Seymour, Randy Moss, Deion Branch, Darrelle Revis, Logan Mankins and countless others that Belichick happily discarded for draft capital and compensation.
When the deal was completed back in March of 2016 to send the stud edge rusher to the desert, Jones was said to be the next in line of former Patriot disciples that would disappoint with their new team.
Except that wasn’t the case at all.
Much to the chagrin of Patriot homers, Chandler Jones has only gotten better since dawning the red and white. The former Syracuse standout has further put a stamp on what could very well be a Hall of Fame career.
In his four seasons with New England (12-15), Chandler Jones averaged roughly nine sacks per year.
Compare that to his first four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (16-19), and Jones would see that number rise to 15.
Keep in mind that many of those Cardinal teams were grossly lacking in talent and certainly did not have the defensive presence of a Belichick potentially adding to Jones’s production.
After missing the large majority of last season due to a torn bicep, Jones enters 2021 on what equates to a one-year contract. The Cardinals are paying Jones just over $15 million dollars for his services.
It’s no secret that Jones, now 32, has been adamant about wanting a new deal from the Cardinals or whomever wants to fill his pockets with guaranteed dollars. He and his agent attempted to rekindle contract talks this past spring, but were unceremoniously told to take a “wait and see approach”.
GM Steve Keim, before once again investing big dollars, wanted to make sure that 2020 was an outlier in an otherwise brilliant run of production from Jones.
This of course would not sit well with Jones, who as a result, privately requested a trade from the team.
But to his credit, this news didn’t emerge nationally until right before training camp. Abound by speculation that Jones would potentially hold out, teams came calling on an asking price for the prized edge rusher.
The Cardinals, to their credit, did not bite.
And sure enough, when Cardinals Camp began on July 27th, Chandler Jones was in the house ready to work. He was there for his coaches and teammates, and thus rewarded with the status of team captain for the 2021 season.
Unlike former Cardinal great Patrick Peterson, who famously voiced his displeasure with the organization on numerous occasions, Jones continues to show a respect to the process that will undoubtedly reward him sooner rather than later.
It’s no secret that Cardinal Team President and Owner Michael Bidwill loves his star players. They are routinely taken care of, for better or worse, and are rarely allowed to hit the free agent market.
It’s because of all of this that Chandler Jones will remain an Arizona Cardinal this season and beyond. If the two parties are unable to reach an agreement on an extension, the All Pro will likely be saddled with a franchise tag that will make him (albeit for one season) the highest paid player at his position.
Knowing Chandler Jones, while not ideal, the use of the franchise will likely result in the same scenario we’re seeing play out now.
That being a star player putting his head down and dominating for the betterment of his teammates and coaches. The tag would also allow the team to continue dialogue on a new deal throughout the spring.
With all of that being said, if I had to wager a guess, expect the future Ring of Honor member to sign a new extension with the club in the coming months.
He’s certainly proving that he’s earned it.
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