Cardinals’ Chandler Jones Makes Case for New Contract With NFL Honor

Getty Images Chandler Jones forces a fumble on Ryan Tannehill during the season opener in 2021.

In the most unsurprising news of all time, the Arizona Cardinals’ edge rusher Chandler Jones won NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for Week 1 of the 2021 season.

Jones has taken home the honor four times as a member of the Cardinals. He signed a five-year deal with the Cardinals in March 2017 and is in the final year of that contract. There was a point in time during the offseason where Jones requested a trade after disagreements with his contract and future with the team.

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He was tallied with six tackles, four for a loss, two forced fumbles and five sacks on Ryan Tannehill, which ties the franchise record for sacks for a single game. Jones is now a part of the 100 sack club as well. He even finished ahead of teammate J.J. Watt, with 102 sacks compared to Watt’s 101.

Chandler is 31-years-old and is potentially on his way for a historical season. It isn’t crazy to think players can get extensions during the season. Just ask 25-year-old Marshon Lattimore from the New Orleans Saints who received a five-year, $97.6 million contract extension right after their season opener on September 12.

The age difference is the key difference in both situations, but we’re here to tell you that shouldn’t matter.

Generational Talent

The honor for Jones is the fourth time he’s won it as a member of the Cardinals and the fifth time in his career. He’s now tied with former safety Adrian Wilson for the most DPOY awards in its team’s history. With 66 sacks for Arizona, Jones is now just a half-sack away from tying the all-time franchise record.

Jones’ career sacks per game obviously increased after the season opener, with a 0.81 mark. Chandler is up there with the greats and past Aaron Donald, DeMarcus Ware, Lawrence Taylor and his teammate J.J. Watt. The only player Jones is behind is Hall-Of-Famer Reggie White.

Speaking of the late Reggie White, Jones is a good comparison in terms of their careers. Granted, they did it in two totally different eras and no one will dispute White is in a league of his own. But both had 20 plus sacks in a season and both had to make decisions on their careers in their early 30’s. White had a great season leading up to his contract year and left the Eagles to sign with the Packers in free agency.

While White could be an outlier, he still went on to put terrific numbers until his age 37 season. We know that we should pump the brakes a tad, but if Jones can stay healthy, there isn’t any reason why Jones shouldn’t perform to a high standard for at least four more seasons. He had the freak injury with his biceps in 2020, but has been trustworthy for the most part in staying on the field.

Expect More Production Sunday

The Cardinals play a favorable matchup against the Vikings for their second game of the season. Arizona is favored in this matchup and is going against a team with an offensive line that is still learning the motions.

They were manhandled by the Bengals in their opening loss. Their interior is extremely vulnerable and they’ll always have to account for Jones on the edge. The fans will be packed at State Farm Stadium and their first half alone had their left tackle account for two holding penalties.

Similar to Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins is not mobile and can be a sitting duck in the pocket. While we shouldn’t expect five sacks to happen again, you should play it safe thinking Jones can get to the quarterback at least two times.

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