Patriots trade Chandler Jones to Cardinals
On Tuesday afternoon Adam Schefter of ESPN reported via Twitter, “Cards trade G Jonathan Cooper + 2nd-rd pick to NE for DE Chandler Jones, per sources.” This certainly qualifies as a block-buster trade, but does not come as a surprise to many that follow the Patriots. Jones is heading into the final year of his contract, and without a doubt the team was not going to pay him the money that he would get on the open market. Olivier Vernon just received a five-year 85 million-dollar contract from the New York Giants last week, and Jones is considered to be near the same skill level as Vernon.
Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Malcolm Butler are also free agents after 2016, therefore the Patriots have players of more importance to lock up. Jones while he has solid statistics, has been slightly overrated during his time in Foxborough. In four seasons he has 36 sacks. That includes 11.5 in 2013, and 12.5 in 2015.
While Jones’s numbers have been solid and reflect that of an elite pass rusher, his impact was never truly felt while he was a Patriot. There was never a time as a Patriots fan that you said, “Wow, Chandler Jones is taking this game over!” Jabaal Sheard has been in New England one season and I can already think back to games against Houston and Tennessee late last season where he was all over the place.
Jones typically got his sacks when the team was up by two scores or when the game was well in hand. Not on a pivotal third down with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. His most significant play was a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown in Minnesota in week two of the 2014 season. It came at a time when the game was still in question, and he made a big play. Too bad he never really did that on the defensive side of the ball.
Furthermore, when the Patriots tried to make Jones a versatile player in 2014 and kick him inside in a 3-4 defense, he was absolutely abused. He had no answer for the big beefy guards on the interior of the line, and he ended injuring his hip because of it. Bill Belichick loves versatility, especially in first-round picks, and Jones couldn’t provide that.
In addition, Jones has really disappeared when it matters the most, in the postseason. In nine postseason games Jones had two sacks. One against Kansas City last year, and one in Super Bowl XLIX. Neither can you really call big-time impact plays. After being drafted 21st overall in the 2012 draft out of Syracuse, Jones drew comparisons to that of Jason Pierre-Paul because of his their similar athleticism.
The Patriots in return for Jones got a solid guard in Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick in this year’s draft. That means they now have the 60th and 61st pick in this April’s draft. Cooper was the seventh overall pick out in the 2013 draft out of North Carolina. The highest drafted guars in almost 30-years. At 6-2, 311 pounds he should be a serviceable guard that should be expected to start and also provide depth. Depth is what the offensive line lacked in 2015. Now with the return of Dante Scarnecchia, and two second round picks, they appear to be patching things together along the offensive line.
Overall, this trade works great for both sides. Arizona was in need of a decent edge rusher, and the Patriots need depth on the interior of the line and more high draft picks. Also, the synthetic marijuana incident last January with Chandler Jones more than likely had nothing to do with this move. It was strictly football, and filled needs for both organizations.