Chandler Jones (DE)

Cardinals’ GM: “We’re Not Trading Patrick Peterson”

Reports yesterday suggested that the Cardinals had inquired on star Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who recently requested a trade. It’s difficult to know the extent of Arizona’s interest in Ramsey, but those rumors did reignite some chatter around the Cardinals’ own stud CB, Patrick Peterson.

Peterson, who is currently serving a six-game ban for violating the league’s PED policy, requested a trade in 2018, though he walked back that request in January 2019. But in April, reports of tension between P2 and the team surfaced again, and then Peterson was hit with the suspension.

Although the three-time First Team All-Pro said in July that he’d like to be a Cardinal for life, Arizona’s reported interest in Ramsey led to some speculation as to whether the Cards would part with Peterson. However, Arizona GM Steve Keim said during a radio appearance Friday morning that Peterson is not going anywhere.

“We’re not trading Pat and that’s something we’ve been very consistent with,” Keim said (via Darren Urban of “You always ask yourself, does a move make us better or worse? To lose someone like Pat Peterson would make us worse.”

Due to tampering considerations, Keim would not address the Ramsey situation. However, he said that the team’s decision to restructure Chandler Jones‘ contract had nothing to do with an impending move, as some believed. The club’s cap space had shrunk to less than $1MM, and the restructure was just about creating flexibility.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Inquire On Jalen Ramsey

The Cardinals might not be the leaders in the clubhouse for Jalen Ramsey, but they’re at least interested. The Cardinals don’t believe they’ll land the standout cornerback, but they did speak with the Jaguars about him, Adam Schefter of (on Twitter) hears. 

They also restructured the contract of linebacker Chandler Jones this week, Schefter hears, giving them an additional $4MM in cap flexibility this season. That’s money that could, in theory, be put towards acquiring Ramsey and giving him the top-of-the-market extension that he seeks.

Here’s where things stand on the Ramsey front: The Jaguars are asking two first-round picks in a trade, but clubs have yet to meet their asking price. So far, they’ve received offers of one first-round choice from two different clubs, and teams could up the ante as time moves on. Ramsey will be in uniform for the Jaguars’ Thursday night game against the Titans, but it sounds like the Jags are hoping to trade him on Friday. The Raiders are among the teams with interest in the standout corner and most of the league’s teams want him as well.

Schefter also passes along this interesting note, via Twitter – Earlier this week, one team reached out to the league office and asked whether Ramsey could play on Sunday for a new club after he played Thursday for Jacksonville. The league informed the team that Ramsey could not, as league rules restrict players to one game per week.

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Trade Rumors: Carr, Raiders, Peterson, Taylor

We learned earlier this morning that Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson has requested a trade, though the team wants to keep him. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Jackson, on his way to the team bus this morning, declined to comment on the report.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league (Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who says many GMs expect there to be three to five “impactful” deals over the next 48 hours, offers a helpful primer, which includes a list of some of the most-discussed players on the market):

  • Albert Breer of TheMMQB says that the Raiders may not be done dealing just yet, though he does not expect the team to move Derek Carr (indeed, Adam Schefter of reported this morning that the Raiders have told Carr that he is the quarterback of the present and future). However, Oakland is open to moving Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley, though the Raiders are driving a “hard bargain” with teams interested in Conley.
  • Breer names a number of other players whose names we have not heard in recent rumblings but who could nonetheless be on the move: the PackersHa Ha Clinton-Dix, the 49ersPierre Garcon and Jimmie Ward, the CardinalsChandler Jones, and the BroncosShane Ray and Brandon Marshall. Breers adds that San Francisco would need to get something “significant” to deal Ward. He also says that, while teams are certainly interested in Denver corners Bradley Roby and Chris Harris, he thinks it would be difficult for the team to trade either.
  • If they had elected to trade Patrick Peterson, La Canfora writes that the Cardinals could have received a bounty for him, and may have even landed multiple first-round picks (in fact, several teams were already prepared to offer a first- and second-rounder). JLC reports that Peterson was considered the “crown jewel” of the deadline, and given his attractive contract status, he may be the subject of renewed trade rumors during the offseason.
  • Breer also writes that the Browns are open to trading Tyrod Taylor, whose contract structure could make a deal feasible. Meanwhile, Tony Grossi of suggests that Cleveland GM John Dorsey may be trying to acquire wide receiver help (Twitter link).
  • The Bills remain unlikely to trade LeSean McCoy, per Schefter.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has demonstrated a proclivity for making trades, and Rich Cimini of says Maccagnan has been doing his due diligence on everyone, including big-name players. But while there is a sense that New York could swing a deal, the fact that the team is in a no-man’s land between buyer and seller, and the fact that the roster does not have many tradeable pieces, could make a trade difficult to pull off.

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Kelly, Cardinals

Cliff Avril underwent disc surgery this week, and Pete Carroll confirmed (via Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times) the procedure went well. Avril will be out for the season, and previous reports indicated the longtime Seahawks defensive end’s career is in jeopardy. Avril, who said in October he wasn’t thinking retirement, sent out a tweet about his upcoming recovery process. Next season will be Avril’s age-32 slate. Michael Bennett said, via Loh, he talks to Avril daily and called his friend’s future “uncertain” as he prepares for a long recovery.

I think you want to be able to walk away from the game the way you want to walk away from the game. To suffer an injury of any magnitude, especially one where you could easily have been paralyzed, is something you have to be able to try to move forward past, and it’s a hard thing to do,” Bennett said. “It’s always devastating to lose a guy and not know his future.”

Here’s the latest from the NFC West.

  • Chip Kelly agreeing to become UCLA’s head coach helped save the 49ers money. The five-year, $23.3MM contract Kelly signed with UCLA will help offset what the 49ers owe him, Matt Maiocco of reports. The 49ers will save $7.5MM because of Kelly’s Bruins agreement, per Maiocco, adding the team would have owed its one-season coach approximately $14MM between 2018 and ’19. Now, UCLA will pay $7.5MM of that amount. “Chip did us a solid,” a 49ers source said, via Maiocco. Kelly signed a four-year, $24MM contract to become San Francisco’s head coach last year but was fired after a 2-14 campaign.
  • The Seahawks have yet to place Kam Chancellor on IR alongside Avril, and Brady Henderson of notes this might be because of the franchise’s cap situation. Seattle’s up against the salary ceiling presently at $84K, per OverTheCap, and by placing Chancellor on IR and replacing him with another player could create a tricky situation. Chancellor’s salary is guaranteed whether he’s on IR or the active roster. Henderson writes the Seahawks might not make this move until they need a roster spot. Given that five games remain in the regular season, that date appears likely to arrive soon.
  • Bruce Arians said earlier this week he could envision Blaine Gabbert being the Cardinals2018 starting quarterback if he keeps playing the way he’s fared since taking over. Arians doubled down on that claim later this week by saying (via Sirius XM radio, on Twitter) Gabbert is not a game manager and fits the Cardinals’ system “really well.” Arians added the veteran passer can “spin it” as well as anyone he’s coached. For reference, Arians has coached Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer. However, the straight-shooting coach is not known for doling out unwarranted praise. Palmer is under contract through 2018 but hasn’t made a decision about a return. Gabbert is a 2018 UFA.
  • Chandler Jones is having an All-Pro-caliber season, and the recently extended outside linebacker credits some of his improved production to being around 15 pounds lighter than last season, Darren Urban of notes. Urban notes Jones reported to Cardinals camp overweight last year and played between 270 and 275 pounds. He’s just under 260 now. The recently extended pass rusher has 12 sacks — one more than he recorded all of last season. That’s tied with 2016 teammate Calais Campbell for best in the league and 4.5 sacks off Simeon Rice‘s 18-year-old team record.

Contract Details: Jones, Gresham, Church

Let’s take a look at the details of some recently-signed contracts:

Extra Points: Lang, Jones, Jeffery, Cyprien

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • Free agent guard T.J. Lang will not be visiting the Broncos following the team’s signing of lineman Ronald Leary, tweets Mike Kliss of 9News. The second-best free agent interior lineman still has plenty of suitors, as he’s set to meet with the Lions and Seahawks. The Packers, his former team, also have interest.
  • Had the Cardinals not extended Chandler Jones, the pass rusher would have eaten up over $14MM of spending space as their franchise player in 2017. He’ll instead take up around $10MM of cap room in 2017, tweets Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.
  • Alshon Jeffery‘s one-year, $14MM deal with the Eagles is the largest non-franchise tag one-year pact in NFL history, according to the NFL Media Research Group (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of Jeffery’s pact eclipsed Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s one-year, $12MM deal with the Jets.
  • The Jaguars didn’t make a contract offer to strong safety Jonathan Cyprien, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweets. After spending four seasons in Jacksonville, the 26-year-old joined the Titans on a four-year, $25MM contract.
  • The Rams‘ release of defensive end Eugene Sims came with a failed physical designation, Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch tweets. The 31-year-old was let go by the team early this morning.
  • Akeem Spence said the Buccaneers expressed interest in bringing him back next season, but the defensive tackle needs a “fresh start,” tweets ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. Spence ultimately inked a three-year, $10.5MM deal with the Lions.
  • Rudy Ford ran a 4.25 at today’s Auburn Pro Day, tweets agent Blake Baratz. The safety was told earlier this week that he wasn’t healthy enough to participate at the combine. Baratz declares Ford “the most underrated prospect in the draft.”

Cardinals To Extend Chandler Jones

The Cardinals and Chandler Jones are finalizing a five-year extension, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Exact terms are not yet known and Rapoport only says that the deal is “going to be large.” Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets that the deal is expected to “come up a little short” of the five-year, $80MM deal Olivier Vernon received from the Giants last offseason. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that the defender will make over $16MM annually, which will translate to around $83MM or $84MM total. The reporter adds that Jones will make over $50MM in guaranteed money.

Arizona placed the franchise tag on Jones earlier this month, giving him a one-year, $14MM+ tender. Under the terms of the franchise tag rules, the two sides had until mid-July to work out an extension. However, with minimal cap space for the coming season and several key free agents in limbo, the Cardinals were eager to hammer out a cap-smoothing deal. It remains to be seen how much the team might be saving in 2017.

The Cardinals’ list of free agents currently includes defensive lineman Calais Campbell (ranked No. 9 on my Top 50 list of free agents), safety Tony Jefferson (No. 11), and linebacker Kevin Minter (No. 22). Other notable free agents include running backs Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington, and Stepfan Taylor, tight end Darren Fells, center A.Q. Shipley, cornerback Marcus Cooper, and safety D.J. Swearinger.

Jones is one of the league’s premier edge defenders. In his first year with Arizona, he racked up eleven sacks and graded out as the league’s No. 7 pass rusher, according to Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cards, Chandler Jones Discussing Extension

The Cardinals placed the franchise tag on edge rusher Chandler Jones last week, but the two sides are now discussing a deal that would keep Jones in the desert for the long haul, tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report.Chandler Jones

[RELATED: Cardinals Re-Sign Jermaine Gresham]

Jones is already set to earn north of $14MM under the terms of the franchise tender, but the 27-year-old now has until July 15 to hammer out an extension with the Cardinals. The tag was always seen as the likely outcome between Arizona and Jones, as team management indicated — essentially from the day Jones was acquired from the Patriots — that he wouldn’t be allowed to hit the open market.

A long-term deal, however, would not only give Jones financial security for the long term, but would likely lower his 2017 cap charge, a key factor for the relatively cash-strapped Cardinals. Although they’e already re-signed tight end Jermaine Gresham, the Cards are still hoping to retain critical defenders such as Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, and Kevin Minter, all of whom are unrestricted free agents.

Jones, whom Arizona picked up from New England in exchange for a second-round pick, posted an excellent first campaign with the Cardinals, racking up 11 sacks and grading as the league’s No. 7 pass rusher, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 NFL Franchise Tag Players

The deadline to designate franchise or transition players for 2017 has passed. Here’s the rundown of the players that were tagged, plus the candidates that did not receive the designation:

Franchise players (exclusive):

Franchise players (non-exclusive):

*second tag; players receive raise over designated salary for position tender

Candidates who didn’t receive tags:

Cardinals Franchise Tag Chandler Jones

As expected, the Cardinals have placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Chandler Jones. The Cardinals had until March 1 to make the call, but they are taking care of business early.

In theory, the non-exclusive tag allows room for Jones to land elsewhere if he signs another team’s offer sheet and the Cardinals opt not to match. However, any team signing Jones away would have to give Arizona two first-round picks. That’s a steep price to pay on top of whatever contract he commands. Therefore, Jones will likely play 2017 under a one-year, $14.55MM tender for linebackers unless the two sides reach agreement on a longer pact between now and July.Chandler Jones

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In January, coach Bruce Arians said that the Cards would apply the franchise tag to Jones if they were unable to immediately lock him up to a long-term deal. Weeks later, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill gave additional confirmation of those plans.

We’re not going to mess around with that,” Bidwill said with regards to Jones. “He’s a great pass rusher, but if we can’t agree to terms that work for us, we’re just going to franchise him. His people know that.”

In my most recent edition of the Free Agent Power Rankings, I had Jones as the No. 2 player available, second only to quarterback Kirk Cousins. Our defensive rankings by position naturally had Jones as the top edge rusher available. Now, that mantle belongs to teammate Calais Campbell.

Jones now becomes the first player to get hit with the franchise tag in the 2017 offseason. More players will receive the designation in the next 48 hours.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.