What appeared to be an easy decision for Arizona Cardinals’ management just a few weeks ago is not so cut and dry anymore
The best pass rushers of the 2016 free agency class were becoming unavailable, and Arizona Cardinals’ fans were worried. Olivier Vernon, Tamba Hali, Jason Pierre-Paul and Bruce Irvin were not gonna be playing ball in the desert. General manager Steve Keim needed to do something quick.
That he did, nabbing sack artist Chandler Jones from the New England Patriots. It was a move that was viewed league-wide as a bonanza for Arizona. Jones would be entering the final year of his contract however, and would eventually need to be extended.
Through 10 games, re-signing the 2015 Pro Bowler seemed to be a foregone conclusion. He had given the Cards the pass rush they had searched for, and was leading the club with eight sacks.
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But over the last four games, Jones has basically done a disappearing act. He hasn’t had a sack since November 20th. He’s also only had 11 tackles since that time, not the kind of production the front office had hoped for.
Suddenly, bringing Jones back to the nest isn’t a sure thing. There’s no doubt that despite the inconsistent season he’s having, he’ll command big money on the open market. Is he really worth the huge contract he almost surely will receive?
For one thing, the Cards’ roster will need some major reshaping. Their free agent list is a mile long, and many tough decisions will need to be made.
Another point to consider for re-signing Jones is that he didn’t come to the organization for free. Part of the trade for the outside linebacker was former first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper. It’s not a big loss, but a second-round pick in the 2016 draft was also included, and that’s considered valuable.
Pass rushers don’t grow on trees, especially ones in their prime. Jones certainly has that going for him. There’s a good chance that Keim realizes that also, and decides retaining Jones is the way to go.