The Arizona Cardinals aren’t worried about newly acquired pass-rusher Chandler Jones—who was dealt to Arizona from New England during the second week of free agency—becoming a one-year rental.
“When he hits free agency, we’ll have the dollars to make sure he stays,” head coach Bruce Arians said, via the team’s official site.
Jones, 26, is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Patriots traded him to the Cardinals in part due to the likely monetary commitment it will take to re-sign a pass-rusher of his talent level, especially after Olivier Vernon signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the New York Giants in free agency.
A first-round pick of the Patriots in 2012, Jones tallied a career-high 12.5 sacks for New England last season. He has 36 career sacks over 55 games, plus a Pro Bowl selection in 2015 and a Super Bowl win in 2014.
If Jones produces another big year in 2016, the Cardinals can expect his next contract to come in at something close to Vernon’s blockbuster deal.
Like Arians, general manager Steve Keim isn’t worried.
“I have faith in our system,” Keim said. “I have faith that he’ll enjoy his time here and he’ll have a tremendous amount of success. Listen, as I’ve said many times, pass rushers don’t grow on trees. You have to put the resources into those guys.”
Jones could be the missing piece for the Cardinals, who lacked the pass-rush necessary to get past the Carolina Panthers and into the Super Bowl last January. Plugging in Jones at outside linebacker could give Arizona the edge terror it needs to take the next step.
But will it last more than a year?
The risk in acquiring a player on the last season of his deal is the potential of losing him in free agency after only one year. Of course, the Cardinals could always use the franchise tag if negotiations with Jones go south at any point following the 2016 season. For now, Arizona has the pass-rusher it so desperately needed.