Chandler Jones has established himself as one of the best defensive players in the NFL. He has been a Pro-Bowler in each of his first four seasons, and this year, Jones became the first player in NFL history to record at least 15 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and a pass defense in each of his first four seasons.
The Cardinals lost a key defensive piece late last week when they reached an agreement with free agent defensive end Chandler Jones. While the team did not announce the terms of the contract, presumably like all free agent deals, the Cardinals will be paying Jones by the week. The final week of the deal is an option, which means the Cardinals could end up paying up to $13.9MM for Jones. However, because the Cardinals are in cap hell, it is likely that the final week of the deal will not be utilized.
DeAndre Hopkins was drafted fifth overall by the Houston Texans in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Texans had the worst receiving corps in the league last season, finishing 31st in receiving yards and 27th in receiving touchdowns. Sounds familiar? It should. The Cardinals saw the same thing last season as well, only they had the worst receiving corps in the league in 2016. Hopkins, and the rest of the Houston receiving corps, will have a huge role in the Texans’ success or failure in 2017.
Despite the fact that Bill Belichick did not want Chandler Jones to be one of the highest-paid defensive lineman in the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals did not hesitate to construct a team around him. Jones has developed into a dominating force after being traded by the New England Patriots soon before the 2016 NFL Draft, because to his great work ethic, lengthy body, and pass-rushing skills.
The three-time Pro Bowler, though, has an unclear future with the Cardinals after dominating the defense for the last several years.
Jones’ tenure with the club may be coming to an end in part because of DeAndre Hopkins. While the great receiver didn’t specifically do anything to irritate his buddy, Hopkins’ hefty deal should lead the Cardinals to have major issues with the unhappy defensive end.
Despite being one of the NFL’s best sack artists, Chandler Jones has no long-term financial stability.
Kliff Kingsbury said that none of them will report this week.
Jones has been looking for a way to extend his contract. Hicks just requested permission to look for a new job.
June 8, 2021 — Chuck Harris (@chuckh3)
After leaving New England, few Patriots players achieve success. But, based on what he’s accomplished since moving to Arizona five years ago, Jones is undeniably one of the outliers.
Jones has 36 sacks and 64 quarterback hits in 55 regular-season games with the Patriots before being moved. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound defender has been able to reach his full potential after switching to a stand-up outside linebacker position.
In his second season with the Cardinals, Jones led the NFL in sacks (17) and tackles for loss (28). He established career highs in sacks (19) and forced fumbles (2) two years later (eight). Jones has two first-team All-Pro honors on his résumé, as well as a place on the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, because to his ability to constantly go after the quarterback.
However, at 31, the 2012 first-round selection is at a crossroads in his NFL career. Jones enters the last year of the $82.5 million contract he signed in 2017, coming off a season-ending biceps injury. Given his track record and position as one of the team’s few established stars, he seems to be a reasonable contender for a long-term contract.
Jones, on the other hand, still has no long-term financial stability as training camp approaches.
Jones’ time in Arizona may be drawing to a close, thanks in part to DeAndre Hopkins.
As Arizona Cardinals teammate Chandler Jones jogs onto the field before practice, star receiver DeAndre Hopkins signals a first down. | Getty Images/Adam Glanzman | Getty Images/Norm Hall
Could the Cardinals’ most accomplished defender be lost as a result of a choice taken a year ago?
Jones sought a trade this summer, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, owing to contractual concerns. It’s reasonable to speculate that DeAndre Hopkins’ contract is a factor in Jones’ dissatisfaction. That isn’t to say Jones doesn’t have issues with Hopkins. However, when the whole breadth of the case is considered, it’s obvious that the Cardinals took a risk by signing the former Houston Texans star to a hefty contract before he had caught a ball from Kyler Murray.
Former NFL agent Joel Corry said on Twitter that the Cardinals’ decision to give Hopkins a two-year, $54.5 million contract deal when he initially joined the club may have irritated Jones. To make things worse, Arizona’s best defender suffered a severe injury after failing to get an extension like his new teammate. Jones’ desire for a trade indicates that the aging star did not get a compelling enough offer from Arizona. Given his services to the club from 2016 to 2019, Hopkins has every right to be irritated by the fact that he received a record-setting contract as soon as he joined the Cardinals.
Despite his age and recent injuries, Jones does not seem to be on the verge of falling over the cliff. Pass-rush-deficient Super Bowl hopefuls should explore trading for him and signing him to a two- or three-year contract extension. In exchange for a player with a proven track record of exceptional performance, the Cardinals might receive a good selection choice.
Of course, if Jones is dealt, that might be the first domino in Arizona to fall.
The All-Pro pass rusher’s possible trade destinations
Chandler Jones has 49 total sacks in his past three healthy seasons (2017-2019).
If his predicament leads to a trade, and the Ravens are able to make the money work for him, he’d make Baltimore’s defense almost unbeatable.
July 26, 2021 — Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34)
Do you believe Kliff Kingsbury is under pressure to win in 2021?
Tom Brady’s former backup was expected to transform the Cardinals into a playoff club, but he has failed to accomplish so. As he enters his third season as head coach, Kingsbury is counting on Arizona to make a huge jump forward in 2021.
Is it a possibility?
The chances don’t seem to be in your favor.
First and foremost, Kingsbury’s starting quarterback must live up to his draft status. Murray has glimpses of brilliance, but the 5-foot-10, 207-pound dual-threat signal-caller has to step up his game to justify the Cardinals’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Counting on a washed-up A.J. Green to help make that happen, on the other hand, does not seem to be a wise plan.
In reality, Arizona’s whole roster does not seem to be capable of winning a Super Bowl. A defense that may be without Jones is already counting on J.J. Watt, who is 31 years old, to be a big contributor. Counting on the oft-injured defensive lineman to remain healthy seems to be yet another risky move by general manager Steve Keim.
If the Kingsbury-Murray tandem fails to produce a winning record and a playoff spot in 2021, ownership may have no option but to start again.
Chandler Jones won’t be the only current Cardinals player (or coach) who won’t be around in 2022 if that occurs.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics. Spotrac provided all contract information.
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