High-end pass rushers lately hit the open market. One of them is about to.
The Cardinals aren’t expected to apply the franchise tag to veteran defensive end Chandler Jones, clearing the way for him to go wherever he wants to go in free agency. The report regarding the team’s plans comes from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
It’s no surprise. Given that Jones had a cap number of $20.176 million in 2021, the rules would entitle him to a 20-percent raise and, in turn, a franchise tender (and cap number) of $24.192 million for 2022. The cap-strapped Cardinals would have a hard time carrying that number into the new league year.
Jones started his contract year with a bang, racking up five sacks in Week One. He went eight weeks, however, before getting another sack. He finished the regular season with 10.5.
Regardless, someone will pay him on the open market. The game currently is primarily about great quarterback play and interrupting great quarterback play. Great pass rushers can do that. With plenty of teams having plenty of money to spend and with Jones having a recognizable name and undeniable skills, someone will pay Jones at the start of free agency — because someone always does.