Electing to trade their superstar pass-rusher would be a mistake that the Arizona Cardinals hierarchy can ill afford to make
As crazy as it may seem, Arizona Cardinals superstar Chandler Jones has been the subject of trade rumors during the past couple of months.
Much of the talk has centered around the talented sack artist’s supposed unhappiness with his current contract situation. That scuttlebutt appeared to be substantiated by the fact that Jones elected to sit out the Cards’ three-day OTA sessions that took place in early June.
If there is any truth to the reports that Jones could indeed be dealt, then Arizona general manager Steve Keim should think long and hard about the profound damage that the trade would do to the Cardinals’ defense.
Trading Chandler Jones would be detrimental to the Arizona Cardinals defense
Orchestrating a deal that would send Jones to another club would essentially strip the Cards of the best pass-rusher in franchise history. During his five campaigns in the desert, the 31-year-old Jones has racked up an eye-popping 61 sacks, and he has contributed 105 hits on opposing signal-callers as well.
Without Jones in the lineup, Arizona would more than likely struggle to generate any consistent pressure on the opposition’s quarterbacks. Sure, Keim and company brought in J.J. Watt (95.5 sacks since 2012) back in March, but the 32-year-old managed to register just five quarterback takedowns for the Houston Texans last fall.
Veteran edge-rusher Markus Golden came back to the Cardinals via the trade route last October, but the 30-year-old totaled a mere 4.5 sacks in 2020. Special teams ace Dennis Gardeck tallied seven sacks in limited action last season, but the torn ACL he suffered last December could be certainly an obstacle for the backup linebacker this year.
Another outside linebacker, Devon Kennard, cashed in on a three-year, $20 million contract in 2020 that included a little over $12 million in guarantees. In return, the Cards received a measly three sacks in 13 appearances last fall from their disappointing free-agent investment.
Trading away a player that has the most sacks (97) in the NFL over the past nine seasons is not a move that a playoff-contending team would make.
With a little luck, any thoughts that the Cardinals may have had of sending Jones to another organization will never be brought up again.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)