Just as the Arizona Cardinals reunited for training camp in hopes of making a playoff push this season, one of their veteran players indicated that he might not want to be along for the ride.
Edge rusher Chandler Jones requested a trade last weekend, putting his future in the desert in serious question.
He’s 31 years old and on the last year of his contract.
Like most of the disgruntled veteran players who have voiced their displeasure this month, Jones is looking for longer term security from his current employer.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Cardinals will acquiesce to Jones’ trade or contract demands.
The fact of the matter is, while newcomer J.J. Watt figures to apply consistent pressure from the outside, Jones is still an incredibly useful piece on a good team.
Whether it’s in Arizona or somewhere else, the former Syracuse star is not overrated, even at his current 2021 salary cap hit of nearly $21 million.
1. He’s Durable
Perhaps this season, more than in any other, availability for games will be near the top of a player’s most valued traits.
Chances are if a guy could stay healthy for a 16 game schedule, he’ll be able to navigate his way through a 17 team regular season slate, with some good luck of course.
Chandler Jones has by and large been a pillar of health so far in his nine year NFL career.
He’s played in at least 14 games in seven seasons, so defensive coordinators have been able to count on their main edge rusher almost every Sunday.
Unfortunately, his least durable season came in 2020, when he only played in five games due to a torn biceps injury.
While that ailment was significant enough to end his year prematurely in 2020, it shouldn’t hamper him heading into 2021.
2. His Success Is Not Fluky
As an added feather in his cap to his durability, Jones has not just been present; he’s been omnipresent.
For those looking to throw a few dollars on relatively safe bets before the NFL season begins, Chandler Jones reaching double digit sacks may be one to take a good look at.
Not counting his rookie season, Jones has eclipsed that threshold in six out of the last eight years.
The two years he didn’t get to that mark were the two seasons he missed time, and in one of those years he still appeared in 10 games.
Very few things can be banked on with confidence in the NFL from year to year, but Jones’ production is high on the list.
— Mason Kern Local4 (@MasonKernMedia) September 1, 2020
3. He’s A Locker Room Glue Guy
When players leave the New England Patriots for other teams, there’s usually an amusing narrative that follows about their repressed personalities.
Following his trade to the Cardinals, Jones’ happy-go-lucky positive attitude was documented in several publications, and was much enjoyed by his teammates.
Arizona has some heightened expectations as a franchise this year, and Jones seems like the type of guy who can diffuse the same level of pressure from a situation as he can apply to a quarterback.
— Brad Gass (@bradgassfox10) August 21, 2020