It’s a tale as old as time…or at least as old as 2001 when the Patriots took a stranglehold on the NFL. Whenever a big name becomes available/states they want a trade, he’s immediately linked to the Patriots. But I have some bad news, Chandler Jones won’t be coming to New England. I understand fans wanting him and his impressive amount of sacks back on the team, but it’s not going to happen.
The two time pro bowler is an elite pass rusher tallying 61 sacks in his five years since he left the Patriots. He’s notched two First Team All Pro selections as well. But even though his production leaves fans salivating at the possibility of him back in Foxboro, there’s a few reasons why it simply won’t happen.
It’s been a while, but we have to remember the initial reason Jones left New England to begin with: money. It wasn’t that Belichick didn’t think he was worth it, but just the fact that he didn’t want to spend what was necessary to keep him. Regardless of if you think that was right or wrong, it’s been the way Belichick has operated for decades. Jones is set to make $15.5 million in 2021 with a cap hit of $20,833,334. You think Belichick wants to pay that tab?
Jones is said to be unhappy with his current contract situation. That means he either doesn’t like what he’s getting paid or the lack of years left. It’s likely he knows he won’t be getting an identical salary to what he has now, but one has to assume he wants something close. The Patriots only have 3 players (Gilmore, Hightower and McCourty) carrying a cap hit north of $10 mil. And Jones’ base salary is more than double the highest (Gilmore) on the team right now. There’s zero chance Belichick is going to take on a hit like Jones’ while also knowing he has to work out a long term deal that’ll likely cost a pretty penny. Money talks, and Bill Belichick isn’t listening.
The Timing Isn’t Right
Bill Belichick is good at what he does. He doesn’t need a player to come right out and say they want to be traded for him to kick the tires on said player. It was reported that he did so with Julio Jones and Jimmy G, so why wouldn’t that be the case with Jones? Before Belichick’s big time spending spree, you’d have to imagine he called Arizona about Jones, just to test the waters. He revamped his entire defense, so it would make sense he’d check in on an elite pass rusher before spending his money elsewhere. He could have gotten a flat out “no” from Arizona or found out the asking price was far too high.
If Jones was going to be a Patriot, it would have already happened. Now, it just seems too late to spend so much for what could be a one year rental. Especially given the fact that the Patriots now only have just over $13 mil in cap space to work with.
Arizona Wants To Keep Him
This is probably the #1 reason Chandler Jones is staying put this year. The Cardinals have already said they have no interest in trading Jones. In fact, GM Steve Keim has said it’s more likely an extension occurs as opposed to a trade. In order for a trade to work, you need two dance partners. And the Cardinals are fine with being wallflowers here. Jones has said he’s going to report to camp anyway, so why would Arizona rush to get him out? They’d likely need to be blown away by a trade proposal, and that’s not something Belichick would likely be willing to provide.
The Patriots currently have Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy, Chase Winovich, Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise Jr among other on their defensive line. With the way Belichick rotates guys in and out, that’s plenty of production. Jones’ skills would be dampened if he was brought in anyway. He’d be a cog in a machine as opposed to a vital part. Chandler Jones is a great player, but he won’t be making a Foxboro homecoming any time soon.
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-Mike Sullivan (@msully5433)
(Featured Photo Credit: patspulpit.com)