Cardinals’ Chandler Jones: “I Love It Here”

The Cardinals entered the 2016 season as Super Bowl contenders and will end it as massive disappointments, having stumbled to a 6-8-1 mark with one game remaining. But Arizona’s struggles haven’t been the fault of pass rusher Chandler Jones, whom the team acquired from the Patriots last March in exchange for a second-round pick and now-unemployed guard Jonathan Cooper.

Chandler Jones

Jones has started in each of his 15 appearances this season and piled up 47 tackles, 21 quarterback hurries, 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. As a result, he ranks 10th in overall performance among Pro Football Focus’ 110 qualifying edge defenders. Now Jones, who has amassed 45.5 sacks in his five-year career, could be on the cusp of playing his final game with the Cardinals. Although the soon-to-be 27-year-old is an impending free agent, he’d like to stay in Arizona.

“I love it here in Arizona – the coaches, the people, the whole atmosphere,” Jones told Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. “I love the vibe that people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time.”

The admiration is seemingly mutual, as general manager Steve Keim referred to Jones as “something we have not had here in years” in October. Back then, the Cardinals and Jones had reportedly been discussing a contract extension since training camp, though it’s unclear if those negotiations have continued.

It’s fair to suggest that retaining Jones over the long haul could cost Arizona similar money to what the Giants gave fellow pass rusher Olivier Vernon in free agency last winter. Vernon parlayed 29 sacks in four seasons with the Dolphins into a five-year, $85MM pact with $52MM in guarantees. Jones is aware of that deal, he told Weinfuss, but the Cardinals could place the franchise tag on him before the March deadline if they’re uncomfortable handing out a Vernon-esque contract. Jones is listed as a linebacker, a position that will carry a projected salary of $14.754MM via the tag in 2017, but the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder could argue that he’s a defensive end in order to secure a richer payday ($16.955MM).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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3 comments on “Cardinals’ Chandler Jones: “I Love It Here”

  1. Charles

    Yup he and Jamie Collins love their new teams so long as the money is there come the off season! As Paul Harvey used to say ” and now you know the rest of the story”.

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  2. Djjackson

    Local beat writers for the Cardinals have already reported they would like to extend Gresham, Chandler Jones (top priority) and Tony Jefferson ( depending on money Tony gets offered in FA’cy Keim may or may not match that offer to retain him I’m gonna be honest with 22 FA’s Jones, Gresham extend them please.palmer and the Cards finally have a TE that’s a weapon on offense got to keep that man around. Jones Keim will get him extended overpay I doubt but pay him well Keim will for sure. The guys 27 he and Golden are great together off the edge don’t brake up that duo. Last but not least imho Calais needs extended. Calais with his QB pressures, QB hits anchoring that Dline with his versatility along the line yes please. Drafted by AZ he won’t leave for a overpay at his age he wants to retire a Cardinals watch Calais extended 2 years. I’d let Tony Jefferson walk if he got a rediculous offer elsewhere. Sip Moore can slot into Bucannons ILB roll let Bucannon slide to safety to replace the loss of Jefferson.

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    • cactus crunch bunch

      DJJ, all valid points for Cardinals off-season. My only contention is that a lot of teams have 60+ million in cap space and could through more money at calais than us………keeping gresham, franchise jones, and keeping jefferson…and use campbell’s money on the offensive line.

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