On Tuesday, the Patriots and Cardinals completed a noteworthy deal when edge rusher Chandler Jones was shipped to Arizona in exchange for offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft choice. The talented Jones is coming off of a career year in which he recorded 44 tackles to go along with a career-high 12.5 sacks, earning his first-ever Pro Bowl selection. The Pats, meanwhile, got themselves a former first-round pick who can play either center or guard while adding to their upcoming draft stockpile.
Here’s a look at some of the reactions to (and fallout from) the swap:
- Now that the Patriots have traded Jones, re-signing outside linebacker Jamie Collins is a high priority, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). In 12 games last season, Collins racked up 89 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 6 passes defensed, 5 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. Collins is presently due to make a little north of $900K in 2016 and they believe that he is more likely to be receptive to an extension offer than Jones would have been. The Pats, Cole says, feel that they can get something done sooner rather than later.
- The Cardinals are not expected to sign Jones to a long-term deal until after the 2016 season, according to Cole (video link). Once Calais Campbell‘s hefty contract comes off the books, Arizona will have more room to give Jones a big deal.
- The Patriots probably saw the writing on the wall when Malik Jackson and Olivier Vernon got monster contracts this offseason, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap writes. Based on the way both players were paid ($14.25MM/year for Jackson, $17MM/year for Vernon), Fitzgerald estimates that Jones was in line for close to $20MM/year, and that sum would have been too rich for New England’s blood. As for Cooper, Fitzgerald notes that the Patriots will probably decline his 2017 option. The lineman’s option year calls for him to earn well over $10MM but, as of right now, he’s more like a $3MM player.
- Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com ran down some of the main reasons why the Patriots traded Jones. Among them, of course, is the projected cost of a new deal for Jones down the line. He also notes that New England is in a good spot at defensive end. New England has Jabaal Sheard as well as an aging, but still productive, Rob Ninkovich to help pressure opposing quarterbacks. The Patriots are also hopeful that they can get production out of Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers plus new addition Chris Long.
- The Jones trade is reminiscent of the team’s Richard Seymour swap in 2009, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss writes. The Pats shipped Seymour to the Raiders for a 2011 first-round choice at a time when the team was unsure about whether they’d be able to re-sign him after the season.
- Collins, Dont’a Hightower, Logan Ryan, and Malcolm Butler (restricted) are all due to be free agents next year, and it would have been difficult to try and re-sign all of those contributors in addition to Jones, Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com writes. Of that group, Jones would have required the most money of anyone thanks to the way that Jackson and Vernon got paid this month. When it comes to Cooper, Barnwell wonders aloud if a change of scenery could turn things around for the former first-rounder.
- Peter King of The MMQB says that the Patriots made the right choice when looking at the numbers. Of course, it also helps that the Pats were able to add Long. Long, he writes, gave up an extra $2-3MM that he could have instead earned with the Falcons, Lions, Washington, or Cowboys.