BY: ED COLE
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arizona Cardinals were in need of a consistent pass rusher, after having just 36 sacks in 16 regular season games last season. They got one on Tuesday in linebacker Chandler Jones, who comes to Arizona in exchange for former first-round pick guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The deal will go through pending Jones and Cooper passing their respective physicals.
Jones is one of the dynamic, young pass rushers in the NFL. In his four years in New England, Jones had 36 sacks – 12.5 of them coming in 15 games last season. In his sophomore season, Jones had 11.5 sacks in 16 games. Those numbers are pretty telling when you look at what the Cardinals have done pass rush wise over the last 11 seasons.
The Cardinals have had a player with 10 or more sacks just once over the past 11 seasons. Chandler Jones has 10+ in 2 of the past 3 years.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 15, 2016
Last season, outside linebacker Dwight Freeney led the team in sacks with 8.0, and he did that after coming to the team in Week 6.
Jones was selected by the Patriots in the first-round of the 2012 NFL Draft (21st overall) out of Syracuse. Jones got his first Pro Bowl selection last year after having the 12.5 sacks – a career-high – to go along with 44 tackles (11 for loss) and four forced fumbles in the 15 games played.
With the 12.5 sacks last season, Jones became one of four players in Patriots history with multiple 10+ sack seasons. His 36 sacks are second to Hall of Famer Andre Tippett for the most in Patriots history for a player in his first four seasons.
Since he came into the league in 2012, Jones is one of three players (J.J. Watt, Ryan Kerrigan, Jones) to have 200+ tackles, 36+ sacks and 10+ forced fumbles.
Jones played in 55 games (52 starts) with New England, and in addition to the 36 sacks, he had 217 tackles (204 solo), 10 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. Jones has also played in nine postseason (eight starts) games, and had two sacks and 18 tackles.
Jones has two brothers, and they’re athletes too: Arthur is a defensive tackle for the Indianapolis Colts, and Jon “Bones” Jones is a UFC fighter.
Jones and various members of the Cardinals are ecstatic that he’s going to be an Arizona Cardinal.
It's a new day!
— Chandler Jones (@Chan95Jones) March 14, 2016
#Birdgang what up??
— Chandler Jones (@Chan95Jones) March 15, 2016
Spent sometime w/ @Chan95Jones in NE.. Good guy.. Gonna bring energy to the team.. Glad to have him
— Adrian Wilson (@adrian_wilson24) March 15, 2016
Making moves I see! #ValueMove
— Patrick Peterson /P2 (@RealPeterson21) March 15, 2016
— Calais Campbell (@Campbell93) March 15, 2016
MarKus & Chandler off the edge? I may have to up my INTs goals next year.
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) March 15, 2016
Cooper ends a disappointing three seasons with the Cardinals with the trade. He was taken with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of North Carolina, and he never lived up to the expectations that comes with being so highly drafted. Injuries and inconsistent play limited him to play in just 24 games in 2014 and 2015 and 11 starts. Last season, Cooper was replaced at right guard by Ted Larsen in Week 10, and never got his job back.
From a money standpoint, the trade of Cooper saves the Cardinals $2,388,954 against the 2016 salary cap. The team will carry $2,240,273 in dead money with the move. Cooper was going to count $4,629,227 against the salary cap if he remained with the team this season.