They could not, and thus, the Arizona Cardinals have used their 2017 franchise tag on their star pass rusher. In a release from the team.
In his first season with the Cardinals in 2016, the 27-year old Jones (6-5, 265) started all 16 games at linebacker and had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss and was a Pro Bowl alternate. Over the past two seasons, Jones has 23.5 sacks, the third most in the NFL in that span. Dating back to his second NFL season in 2013, his 13 multi-sack games are tied for the second-most in the NFL.
The Arizona Cardinals now have Chandler Jones locked under contract for the franchise tag through July 15, 2017. If they cannot come to a contract agreement before then, he will play the 2017 season under the franchise tag, which could be upwards of $17 million a season.
If another team chooses to offer Jones a contract sheet, the Cardinals can match any offer, or will receive two first round picks as compensation. This rarely happens, but it is good to know, just in case teams entertain the idea of trying to bring Jones in.
All in all, this is not an unexpected move, hopefully the Cardinals are able to extend Jones past the franchise tag before the July 15th deadline.