Where will Chandler Jones play next?
By: Reese Nasser
Nine-year NFL veteran Chandler Jones could be on the way out of Arizona. The linebacker has spent the last five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals but, at some point during this off-season, requested a trade. This could lead to Jones being gone before the start of the season.
Joens has been one of the NFL’s most prolific pass rushers since he entered the league in 2012. He spent the first four years of his career with the New England Patriots. In those four years, Jones recorded 36 sacks and 38 tackles for loss.
After being traded to Arizona in 2016, Jones took his play to an even higher level. Excluding the 2020 season where he appeared in just five games, Jones has been one of the NFL’s most prominent defensive players since he joined the Cardinals. From 2016 to 2019, his stretch was among the NFL’s elite. He racked up 60 sacks, 67 tackles for loss, and 98 quarterback hits.
With a potential trade on the horizon, there is speculation around where Jones could eventually be moved. There are multiple teams that could see Jones as the final piece needed for a strong Super Bowl run. Here are three potential landing spots for the two-time all-pro linebacker.
New England Patriots
A return to New England could prove to be a real possibility for Jones. The Patriots have a deep group of veteran linebackers led by Kyle Van Noy, Donta Hightower, and Matt Judon, but Jones could join this defense and become their best pass rusher.
Jones is able to do things that Van Noy and Hightower cannot. And a pass-rushing duo of Jones and Judon could quickly become one of the best in the NFL.
A trade would more than likely be centered around veteran Cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The Patriots could see a trade of these two defenders as necessary in order to get them closer to a top defense than they are.
The situation in Miami is very similar to the one taking place in New England. Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard has asked for a restructured contract and the Dolphins could decide to package a deal around him instead of giving him the new deal.
The Dolphins defense is fairly young in particular spots. Jones could step into a spot where he would not only be the lead edge rusher but where he could mentor younger players.
Miami selected linebacker Jaelen Phillips with the 18th pick in the draft. Having a player of Jones’ talent to learn from could be exactly what the rookie linebacker needs to become one of the NFL’s next great defensive players.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers could be an underrated trade partner for the Cardinals. Los Angeles finished 2020 with a 7-9 record and will look to build on that heading into this upcoming season. With the offense led by young quarterback Justin Herbert, this team has money to build.
If Jones wants a new contract, the Chargers could be the team that gives it to him. And the pairing of Jones alongside Joey Bosa could be too good to pass up on.
Bosa appeared in 12 games last season and still recorded almost double-digit sacks and had 15 tackles for loss. He and Jones on both sides of the defensive line would be one of the top pass-rushing duos in the NFL. It could also be what this defense needs to be a top-5 unit in the league.