A busy day on the trade front for the Cardinals continues. Arizona is sending offensive lineman Josh Jones to the Texans, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Cardinals (who have now confirmed the deal) will send Jones and a seventh-round pick to Houston for a fifth-rounder (Twitter links).
As is the case with hybrid defender Isaiah Simmons, Jones is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Like Simmons, the Cardinals and new general manager Monti Ossenfort will move on from a Steve Keim-era draftee instead of seeing Jones potentially depart next offseason in free agency.
Jones saw only 55 offensive snaps as a rookie, but he took on a much more significant role in the two years since. The 26-year-old played all 17 games (including 12 starts), and saw time at both right tackle and right guard in 2021. His versatility was showcased to a further degree this past season when he logged 622 snaps, all but 12 of which came at left tackle while filling in for an injured D.J. Humphries.
The former third-rounder earned a career-high PFF grade of 75.8 in 2022, showcasing potential if given a full-time starting opportunity. The Cardinals have Humphries on the books for the next three seasons, however, and first-round rookie Paris Johnson Jr. is set to start right away at right tackle. Kelvin Beachum was retained, and he will now be assured of the swing tackle role. Moving on from Jones will result in $2.74MM in cap savings for the Cardinals.
The move also represents another in what has been a busy offseason along the O-line for the Texans. Both tackle starters (Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard) have signed lucrative extensions, and guard Shaq Mason was acquired via trade with the Buccaneers and later signed to a new deal. Jones – a native of Richmond, Texas who played collegiately at Houston – will be in place as a backup to all three of those entrenched starters.
As KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes (via Twitter), the Texans are in need of capable depth at the right tackle spot in particular as the regular season approaches. Howard is recovering from hand surgery, and his Week 1 availability remains up in the air. Charlie Heck, meanwhile, will begin the season on the PUP list while dealing with foot and back injuries, per Wilson. That will sideline the former fourth-rounder for at least the first four games of the campaign.
The Cardinals and Texans worked out a trade on Day 1 of the draft which allowed the latter to move up to No. 3 on the board and select Will Anderson. It was the first of two swaps Ossenfort authorized which ultimately resulted in Johnson – the Cardinals’ top target to bolster their O-line – being selected sixth overall. The teams have now partnered once again, with one adding valuable depth and the other adding further to its draft cupboard as part of a full-scale rebuild.