The Patriots traded Chandler Jones to the Cardinals in 2016. In the four seasons since then, Jones has 60 sacks, the most of any player in the NFL in that time. So does Jones think he stuck it to the Patriots and proved they were wrong to get rid of him?
Not at all. Jones told Jeff Howe of TheAthletic.com that he grasps the business of the NFL, and the fact that the Patriots are smart about not devoting too much salary cap space to any one player is part of the way they do business.
“When I spoke to Bill [Belichick] when I got traded, he told me it was best for the team; this was the best decision for our team,” Jones said. “At the time, I didn’t understand. That next year, they won the Super Bowl, so I did understand that was best for the team — saved money, and they actually went and won. There were no hard feelings at all. I understood it’s a business and it was what was best for the team.”
That’s a mature viewpoint, and a correct assessment of the Patriots’ approach to building a roster. Belichick simply doesn’t view defensive end as an important enough position in his defense to be worth spending big money. That’s why he traded Jones, and it’s also why he let Trey Flowers walk in free agency last year. Jones has played as well as the Cardinals possibly could have dreamed he would play since they acquired him, and yet the Patriots are surely satisfied with the trade as well. And Jones understands that.