The Cardinals and the agent for contract-year defensive end Chandler Jones have been discussing an extension since training camp, general manager Steve Keim told Arizona Sports 98.7 (via Darren Urban of the team’s website). Keim didn’t indicate whether there has been progress toward an agreement.
Jones is “something we have not had here in years,” said Keim, who acquired the 26-year-old in a March trade with the Patriots. Keim gave up a second-round pick and offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper (now with the Browns) for Jones.
In four years with the Patriots, Jones piled up 36 sacks and 10 forced fumbles over 55 regular-season games. The 2012 first-round pick from Syracuse has remained a force in Arizona, where he has amassed 23 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles through seven contests. Jones, who has participated in 96 percent of the Cardinals’ defensive snaps, ranks third in overall performance among Pro Football Focus’ 103 qualifying edge rushers.
Based on his production, Jones wouldn’t be unreasonable to seek a deal similar to the five-year, $85MM pact fellow defensive end Olivier Vernon signed as a free agent with the Giants over the winter. The former Dolphin, also 26, got a whopping $52MM in guarantees after totaling 29 sacks and four forced fumbles during his first four seasons.
If the Cardinals and Jones aren’t able to find common ground by March, they could hit the one-time Pro Bowler with the franchise tag – worth upward of $15.7MM this year – to keep him off the market. Jones is currently raking in $7.799MM in his fifth-year option season.