On the eve of the NFL New Year, the Arizona Cardinals have made one thing perfectly clear: they are absolutely bullish on keeping OLB/DE Chandler Jones.
The question is whether the Cardinals will play out the final year of Jones’ contract, which would mean paying him his $15.5M non-guaranteed base salary (prior to Week 1), or whether they will work out a contract extension in order to secure Jones’ services for anther year or two while being able to add valuable cap space in free agency.
On the other side of the ball, 2020 3rd round pick, Josh Jones is primed and ready to be the team’s starter at right tackle, while 2020 starting RT Kelvin Beachum hits free agency after his commendable year with the Cardinals.
The Chandler Jones vs Josh Jones matchup in practice should be fun to watch.
Thus, if the Cardinals intend to “keep up with the Joneses” in the high-powered NFC West, then why not take some patterned steps, quite literally, to build on their collection of Joneses?
When Cardinals’ scouts, coaches and fans scrutinize the list of the 2021 available UFAs, the uncanny reality is, there is an intriguing Jones for just about every one of their personnel needs.
Cases in Point:
RB Aaron Jones (GB) —- the premier RB on the UFA market has a tie to the Cardinals because his college head coach at UTEP was Sean Kugler. Coming off back-to-back 1,00 yard rushing seasons and 30 combined TDs (rushing and receiving), Jones, by virtue of his attacking style and versatility as a receiver out of the backfield, is made to order for the Cardinals offense, which now has promoted Sean Kugler to running game coordinator.
WR Marvin Jones (DET) —- in many ways Marvin Jones could be a very effective and nifty WR2 compliment to DeAndre Hopkins. Jones has the physical ability to attain strong leverage on opposing CBs while having the quickness to gain separation. He has sticky hands and a nose for the end zone (9 TDs in 3 of his last 4 seasons and a career high 76 catches for 978 yards in 2020).
DT DaQuan Jones (TEN) —- at 6-4, 317 DaQuan Jones is one of the more imposing defensive tackles in the NFL. He can play nose or slide out to 34 DE. Adding this stalwart run stuffer (as highlighted by Dave McGinnis in the video below) to the DI mix would be a boon. And if the Cards can’t sign DeQuan, then they could makes a play for Abry Jones (6-4, 318, 29, JAC) who posted a solid 65.9 PFF grade in 2020 —- or go younger with D.J. Jones (6-0, 321, 26, SF) who posted a 61.3 grade in 2020 following his 67.8 2019 PFF grade.
CB Sidney Jones (JAC) —- coming off his best season, albeit with a couple injury setbacks, Sidney Jones appears to be entering his prime and should be an instant fit in the Cardinals’ “Husky Heavy” secondary along side former Washington-U teammates Budda Baker, Byron Murphy and Zeke Turner. His 68.3 PFF grade was higher than any of the Cardinals CB grades in 2020. See the nice pick he made on Aaron Rodgers in the video.
C Brett Jones (MIN) —- he thought he was going to start at C with the Vikings when he signed as a free agent in 2019, but when Garrett Bradbury was on the board at pick #19 in the 2019 draft, the Vikings couldn’t resist taking him. When given the chance to play late in the 2020 season, Brett Jones graded an impressive 77.6 His connection to the Cardinals is that in 2017 he had his best and most productive year as the Giants’ starting center (70.2, 82.1 pass blocking) playing along side of former teammate Justin Pugh. Brett Jones is the kind of potential hidden gem signing the Cardinals could hit a home run with. Jones has experience playing RG as well. Over the 900 snaps of his career, Jones has only given up 3 sacks and 17 pressures, while incurring only 3 penalties.
WR Zay Jones (OAK) —- here is another potential hidden gem UFA. At 6-2, 200 Zay Jones has impressive size and 4.45 speed, plus a 36.5” vertical. He was a 2nd round pick for the Bills in 2017 and was traded two years ago to the Raiders for a 5th round pick. In 59 games, Jones has 1,338 yards and 10 TDs, serving as a WR3 moist of that time. Having played his high school ball in Austin at Stephen F. Austin High School, it would be reasonable to assume that Kliff Kingsbury understands Jones’ background and his talent. Jones, turns 26 in March and his best playing days could very well be ahead of him. He was a 1st Team All-American in 216 at East Carolina.
LB Joe Jones (DEN) —- again, here is another young, talented player who could be a hidden gem. The 27 year old 6-0, 236 Northwestern grad is a gifted athlete. At his 2017 pro day he ran a 4.49 40 and 6.83 3 cone while posting a 35” vertical and 10’3” broad jump. With the Broncos he was a core special teamer this past season posting an above average 67.0 ST grade. On the couple of occasions where he got snaps at LB his grades were good: 83.2 in 2018 on 26 snaps and 67.8 in 2020 on 6 snaps. Jones could be the right athlete, at the right place and right time —- who knows? Because, as today’s NFL fans know, speedy LBers who can cover RBs and TEs stride for stride are in vogue.
Possible Trade Targets:
- Deion Jones (ATL), LB, 68.7 2020, 76.5 2019 —- Cap Hits: $8.68M in 2021, $10.1M in 2022
- Byron Jones (MIA), CB, 63.6 2020, 76.1 2019 —- Cap Hits: $14.0M in 2021, $14.375M in 2022
- Jonathan Jones (NE), CB, 80.7 2020, 73.6 2019 —- Cap Hits: $5.4M in 2021, $6.2M in 2022
2021 NFL Mock Draft Du Jour: Arizona Cardinals
- Trade: Arizona Cardinals trade the #16 pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for picks #24, #88, plus the Steelers’ 2022 4th round pick —-the Steelers select QB Mac Jones.
24. (pick acquire for QB Mac Jones) Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
48. Arizona Cardinals trade the #48 pick to the New England Patriots for CB Jonathan Jones.
79. Patrick Jones II, OLB/DE, Pittsburgh
88. (pick acquired for QB Mac Jones) Quinn Meinerz, C/G, Wisconsin-Whitewater
144. Benjamin St. Juste, CB, Minnesota
204. Robert Jones, T/G, Middle Tennessee St.
So, hey Cheech and Chong, don’t bogart the Joneses entirely for basketball.
Because, as an Arizona Cardinals’ fan on the eve of the 2021 free agency, I got the football Jones. Maybe the Cardinals’ scouts and coaches do too. Do any of you, Birdgang bruhs?