Chandler Jones reportedly requested the Cardinals trade him this offseason, so which NFL teams should be calling about the top-tier sack artist?
Whenever the start of training camps starts to come around, there are always players who emerge as potential trade candidates before the new campaign. The 2021 NFL season and the leadup to it are no different and Arizona Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones is the latest player to have his name thrown into that arena.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Sunday that Jones requested a trade from the Cardinals due to unhappiness with his current contract situation. Set to be 31 years old this season, he’s entering the final year of his current deal and seeks to get long-term “assurance” that he can stick around.
Though he’s on the wrong side of 30 and coming off an injury that cut his 2020 season short, Jones has been one of the premier sack artists in the NFL for the past few years, something any team would be lucky to have. And now they may have that chance.
So, if the Cardinals are unable to work out a deal with their veteran edge rusher, these five NFL teams should be making a run at a Chandler Jones trade.
5 NFL teams that would make sense for a Chandler Jones trade
5. Los Angeles Chargers – Brandon Staley is entering his first season as the Chargers head coach and there are high hopes for the defense with stars like Joey Bosa, Derwin James and several others. But the Bolts might be best served exploring a Jones trade to help solidify their pass rush off the edge.
There are some young players on the edge opposite Bosa who can make their impact felt but there isn’t an every-down threat who can be a bonafide stud that is obvious right now. For a club that clearly is looking to make a playoff run in year two with Justin Herbert, trading for the veteran Jones would be a quality swing for the fences.
4. Buffalo Bills – Considering that the Bills used their first and second-round picks on edge rushers (Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr.), Buffalo might seem like an odd inclusion. But the fact of the matter is that one of the league’s most versatile defenses needs some more pop coming off the edge with an immediate impact player.
No one can deny that Jones would provide exactly that and would likely take the starting role from Jerry Hughes, thus allowing the latter to rotate with Mario Addison opposite Jones. For a team whose defense could possibly take a step back, trading for the sack artist would be a fantastic way to ensure they avoid such a fate.
3. New York Giants – There can be no questions about the intentions of Giants general manager Dave Gettleman entering the 2021 NFL season at this point. But the majority of their aggressive offseason moves have been to upgrade the offense. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who shined last year, probably wouldn’t mind adding some top-end talent on his side of the ball.
While New York has high hopes for second-round rookie Azeez Ojulari, their edge-rusher group leaves a bit to be desired as they lack depth and don’t have a premier pass-rusher. Jones could come in and fill that role, thus allowing the G-Men to have a high floor based on the strength of their defense.
2. Miami Dolphins – Two things make the Dolphins exceptionally intriguing for a Chandler Jones trade. The first is obviously the connection to Miami head coach Brian Flores. Though he didn’t directly coach Jones with the Patriots, Flores was on the defensive staff and is more than familiar with the veteran. But perhaps more than that, the Dolphins have the most obvious path the landing Jones, even if it’s not necessarily a foregone conclusion.
Miami is in their own contract dispute with cornerback Xavien Howard and could potentially be looking to trade the league leader in interceptions from last season. If the Dolphins were to call up the Cards, a team that could use corner help, and offer a one-for-one trade to address their lack of a top-tier edge defender, Arizona would have to entertain that as at least a jumping-off point.
1. Baltimore Ravens – Pretty quietly, the Ravens could find themselves hurting for a pass rush in the 2021 season. They lost Matt Judon and, though they drafted Odafe Oweh in the first round, Baltimore needs some immediate impact players. Sure, they could just blitz super heavily under Wink Martindale but they could also just explore a Chandler Jones trade.
Trading for Jones would clearly be a win-now move but the Ravens are in that mindset. They have gone further all-in on Lamar Jackson leading a high-caliber offense but they can’t afford to let one of the NFL’s best defenses fall by the wayside. Ensuring the quality of their pass rush with Jones is one possible option for making sure that doesn’t happen.