The Arizona Cardinals made a well thought out and prudent move by placing the non-exclusive franchise tender on free agent linebacker to be Chandler Jones. The move was made on Monday, keeping Jones in the desert at least through the 2017-18 season (unless another team coughs up two first round picks, which isn't happening). Many are asking why the Cardinals didn't just negotiate a long term extension with him (they still have until July 15th, for what it's worth). To me, the move they made makes perfect sense.
Sure, the Cardinals could save some cap space in 2017 by signing Jones long term, but the total cash doled out from the franchise tag is roughly about the same amount he would get in a long term deal on an annual basis. If they can still maneuver around their current cap situation to sign and re-sign the players they want, then it really won't matter.
There's also the idea that the team may have to start rebuilding after 2017 if they don't make some noise in the playoffs. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald contemplated retirement just a few short weeks ago before deciding to come back for another year. Who's to say this isn't the final year for two of the most important pieces on the team? If it is and if the Cardinals feel like they may have to go through a youth transition upon their departure, then keeping Jones long term might not even make sense.
Again, for now, this is the perfect move. The Cardinals bought themselves time if they want to strike an extended deal with Jones and have given themselves flexibility to move on from him if they choose to do so in the future.
What do you think? Should the team just work out an extension with Jones and consider him a building block for the future great Cardinals team? Or is letting him play out the franchise tag the right move?