Chandler Jones leads NFL in sacks, this year and over four years as a Cardinal

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No one sacks the quarterback more than Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones.

That’s true both this year — when Jones is leading the league with 12.5 sacks — and over his four-year career with the Cardinals. Since 2016, when the Patriots sent Jones to Arizona, he has 53.5 sacks. That’s the best mark in the NFL over these last four seasons, followed by Aaron Donald with 47.5 and Von Miller with 43.

What’s interesting about Jones’ tenure with the Cardinals is that even though he’s been a phenomenal player for four years, the Patriots likely don’t regret the trade at all. New England has, of course, gone to the Super Bowl every year since trading Jones, and is a favorite to go again this year. And the Patriots have the best defense in the NFL this season, so it’s not like they miss Jones very much.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a long track record of moving on from players before they get too expensive, and it’s telling that he kept Jones around for four inexpensive years on his rookie contract and then traded him away before he was about to cost significantly more against the salary cap.

The Patriots got a second-round pick from the Cardinals for Jones, then traded that pick for two picks, which they used on Joe Thuney, who has started every game at guard since the day he arrived in New England, as well as Malcolm Mitchell, who struggled to stay healthy and is now out of the league. Belichick likes trading down and acquiring additional picks in part because he understands that’s how the draft works: Sometimes you get a reliable offensive lineman like Thuney at a low price, other times you get a guy like Mitchell whose career is cut short. You’ll never hit on all your draft picks, but the more picks you have, the more you’ll hit.

Similarly, you’ll never hit on all your free agents, but the more money you have to spend, the more likely you’ll get some good contributors. Belichick figured that it’s better to add a lot of players with the cap space it would have taken to keep Jones, who signed a five-year, $82 million contract with the Cardinals.

So Jones, for as a great a player as he’s been in Arizona, hasn’t been missed in New England. He’s been everything the Cardinals hoped he would be, and the trade worked out pretty much how the Patriots hoped it would as well.

18 responses to “Chandler Jones leads NFL in sacks, this year and over four years as a Cardinal

  1. Your take on Malcolm Mitchell is a little unfair: the talent was really there (on display in the 2nd half of the Super Bowl comeback against Atlanta) and it was the injuries to Malcolm’s knee that took him off the field and out of the league.

  2. The Patriots expect their players to be loyal to the team, but it’s not a two way street.
    Pats are more loyal to money.
    Ask Tom Brady when the team kept lowballing him every contract until he finally told them “no more hometown discounts”.

  3. He hasn’t been missed much in NE. Hilarious premise. The D is great, no cap hell and SB wins everywhere.

    The dude was out praying on his knees the weekend of a playoff game because he stupidly smoked synthetic weed like a bozo, clearly not knowing what it even was.

    On top of that, he’s a weak 3-4 player, so NE was relegated to play almost an exclusive 4-3.


    Someone like Kyle Van Noy makes everyone with half a brain forget

    So, BB used a 6th rd pick for Van Noy (a 2015 2nd rder) and took Thuney in the 4th, while appearing in SBs every year. To make it seem like NE somehow lost this juggling act of personnel, is hilarious.

    Wake me when Jones actually plays a pure DE spot, as opposed to just trying to collect sacks.

    This is like saying Clay MAtthews was a great all around DE/OLB. No, he blasted into the backfield on every down, so with every TFL or sack he got, he’d also be exposed vs the run constantly as GBs D got worse, and worse and worse.

    Thank you and please learn the sports. Stats are for losers as BB always said.

    The surprise trade actually came with Jamie Collins, but even he started to freelance and got dealt. Highthower and his value to the front 7 was always the guy who they were going to pay as a priority.

    Once it became clear Jones was all about the highest bidder he was gone.

    See Kalil Mack and his poor value with the loss of picks for Chicago right now. To build a base with cost effectiveness, you need extra picks.

    Some teams will never, ever get it.

  4. All that money for CJones. Good Player but what has Arizona won? Thuney is a rock. Don’t know what happened to Jones that night in NE, but a apparently the Pats didn’t want to roll the dice.

    Mitchell is out of the league, but he was no washout. Instrumental in the SBowl win vs the Falcons.

  5. In addition, if NE had signed Jones to a big contract, they would not have had the cap space a year and a half later for Gilmore. I’ll take the shutdown corner every time over a great pass rusher who can’t or is unwilling to do the other things (such as setting the edge) necessary to win.

  6. So how many titles does Chandler have there in Arizona to go along with his PERSONAL stats? Oh that’s right ZIPPO

  7. Lets not kid ourselves if Brady held out for what he deserves there would be a lot more pressure to hit on those low picks and the Pats probably would t be as good. Pressure eases when you have arguably rhe best QB ever to play.

  8. Maybe I did not read the article correctly but several commenters seemed to imply you said Pats didn’t get a good deal on the trade and that you were knocking Mitchell. I got nothing like that when I read the article. You only said Mitchell was injury prone. Which he was. And said the Pats got pretty much what they hoped for out of the trade. No?

  9. The Patriots would make that trade every single time. Without Mitchell, the Falcons would have won the SB. Joe Thuney has also played a vital role in 3 SBs. In fact, I believe he’s started every single game since he was drafted.

  10. Van Noy was 3rd in voting for MVP in the SB. He could have easily been 1. I thought he was.

    Every trade is even sum. If you trade one guy and get 2, who did Arizona add? That counts.

    What also counts is zero-sum on the field. The Pats get a reliable Guard. Another player who without, would NOT have won a SB. That counts too.

    Back to Van Noy and zero sum. Is Van Noy the guy who would be off the field if Jones was on the field? I’ll take the Guard, Van Noy and a (since it’s in the rear view) a guaranteed SB win over sack production and what might have been.

    Besides, different D’s, different philosophies, different grocery stores for that matter.

    Jones is working his way to a HOF career as a player. Good for him. I mean that. I love great players.

    BB may be the ultimate ‘what have you done for me lately and how do I get the most out of a team in the long run coach’ and to be THAT coach, takes a certain philosophy, even if it seems or is detached or if he is in fact detached. Personally, I bet he loves certain players and it hurts but at the same time, those players are getting paid big bucks (elsewhere) or getting their last bucks, so it’s all good.

  11. The other flaw with Jones is he disappears vs good offenses, late in games, late in the year and in postseasons, which Arizona will never experience as his 17 mil per salary ruins their cap position as they attempt to build something there for the first time after decades of failures, minus 1 SB appearance.

  12. tylawspick6 says:
    November 20, 2019 at 12:56 pm
    The other flaw with Jones is he disappears vs good offenses, late in games, late in the year and in postseasons, which Arizona will never experience as his 17 mil per salary ruins their cap position as they attempt to build something there for the first time after decades of failures, minus 1 SB appearance.

    AZ is set to have $80M+ in cap space next season to build that roster with but don’t let the facts get in the way of your lies….

  13. The Jets drafted Quenton Coples ahead of Chandler Jones. Coples was cut his 4th year.
    I guess the Jets made a bad choice.

  14. And my Bears took Shea McClellin in the pick right before Chandler Jones. Mike Mayock was banging the table, but yea, that’s my Bad News Bears. FML

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