Cardinals may need insurance policy for a disgruntled Chandler Jones
Possible financial issues with Chandler Jones could force the Arizona Cardinals to take out insurance on their star edge-rusher
After an offseason that has elicited a ton of optimism in the desert, what the Arizona Cardinals don’t need right now is a disgruntled superstar.
While the team’s hierarchy has made it known that they’re thrilled with the return of Chandler Jones in 2021, a recent gesture by the three-time Pro Bowler indicates that he may not be happy with his current situation.
Recently, Jones created a story by removing all references to the Cardinals from his Instagram page. Should Arizona’s front office and their fans be worried?
Arizona Cardinals are ill-prepared for a life without Chandler Jones
Rumors are floating that Cards management may have asked Jones to play for less money during the upcoming season. There’s also a general feeling that the franchise wants the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder to prove he can still produce at a high level before they offer him any kind of contract extension.
If there is trouble brewing between Jones and the organization, general manager Steve Keim better find a way to fix it. The club’s pass-rush would take a huge hit if the 31-year-old decided that a holdout was in his best interests.
The eyebrows of many Cardinals followers were raised when it was reported that linebacker Devon Kennard‘s salary this year is fully guaranteed. Last year’s free-agent pickup contributed just 19 tackles and three sacks in the 2020 campaign, and the “Red Sea” quite naturally expected more.
Dennis Gardeck was a pleasant surprise last season when he registered 7 sacks in extremely limited playing time. However, the special teams ace suffered a torn ACL last December, and his availability for the upcoming campaign has not yet been determined.
Arizona added Duke University’s Victor Dimukeje during the NFL Draft last month. But how much production can the squad really expect out of a sixth-round selection?
The one saving grace at outside linebacker besides Jones is Markus Golden, the veteran who returned to Arizona last October after a trade with the New York Giants. In nine games (eight starts), the 30-year-old totaled 23 tackles, three sacks, and 14 quarterback hits for the Redbirds.
There are several free-agent edge-rushers who are still looking for work. Bringing one in as an insurance policy for a potentially unhappy Jones may not be a bad idea. Those still on the available list include Justin Houston, Everson Griffen, Olivier Vernon, and Melvin Ingram.
Cards defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has to be looking forward to turning Jones and the newly-acquired J.J. Watt loose on opposing quarterbacks.
Keim needs to reach a compromise with Jones that will make that dream pass-rushing combination a reality, as Arizona’s first trip to the playoffs since 2015 could very well depend on it.