Background: NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 12: Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans fumbles after being hit by Chandler Jones #55 of the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The NFL world is still buzzing about Chandler Jones’ epic 5 sack, 2 forced fumbles performance which helped to propel the Arizona Cardinals to their stunning 38-13 triumph over the Tennessee Titans.
Not only was Chandler Jones the deserving recipient of the NFL’s Week 1 Defensive Player of the Week award, Chandler Jones is reminding NFL historians of where his sack totals rank among the all-time greats.
After his 5-sack performance in Week 1, @AZCardinals LB @chanjones55 has 102.0 sacks in 125 games. His per game sack average (.816) ranks 2nd in NFL history behind only Reggie White (.853)— Mike Helm (@AZ_Helm) September 14, 2021
(Among players w/ at least 75 games played)
According to Chandler Jones, he did indeed ask to be traded this off-season, apparently because the Cardinals were in a wait-and-let’s-see-how-you-play-this-year frame of mind, which very much explains why a few months ago Jones tweeted “I am going to bet on myself.”
To be fair to Steve Keim and the Cardinals, there is a large salary cap picture to consider here in light of the fact that the Cardinals are on the verge of paying Kyler Murray a yearly salary likely somewhere north of $40M a year. Plus, let’s be honest. In the aftermath of a 2-0 start when the Cardinals dropped two in a row early last season to the Panthers and Lions, Steve Keim publicly stated, “Our stars have to start playing like stars.”
On the defensive side of the ball Keim was addressing all of the appointed veteran captains not named Corey Peters —- of which Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson were the most conspicuous.
The Chandler Jones who played 4 1⁄2 games last season looked nothing like the hard charging, physically dominating thoroughbred he looked like this past Sunday.
The Cardinals have gotten badly burned twice in the recent past when they gave lucrative contract extensions to players coming off season-ending injuries, as Tyrann Mathieu and David Johnson, once they banked their signing bonuses, never looked nearly as motivated or as physically dynamic as they had previously.
In one game this season, it looks as if Chandler Jones is playing like Chandler Jones. Obviously, both he, the Cardinals and his teammates hope to see Jones continue to stack premier performances like gold records —- having played in week 1, all of Jones’ $15.5M base salary is now fully guaranteed.
For the record, even while being in the final year of his 5 year $82.5M contract, his average of $16.5M a year places him 14th among the NFL’s highest paid edge rushers, and only third behind Khalil Mack ($23.5M) and Von Miller ($19M) for highest paid edge rushers over the age of 30.
The Top 5:
- T.J. Watt, 27, $28M a year, $80M g-ted. (2026 UFA)
- Joey Bosa, 27, $27M a year, $102M g-ted.(2026 UFA)
- Myles Garrett, 26, $25M a year, $90M g-ted. (2027 UFA)
- Khalil Mack, 30, $23.5M a year, $90M g-ted (2025 UFA)
- Demarcus Lawrence, 29, $21M a year, $65M g-ted. (2024 UFA)
Top 5 Over 30:
- Khalil Mack, 30, $23.5M (contracts voids in 2025)
- Von Miller, 32, $19M (2022 UFA)
- Chandler Jones, 31, $16.5M, (2022 UFA)
- Whitney Mercilus, 31, $13.5M (2022 UFA)
- Jason Pierre-Paul, 32, $12.5M (2022 UFA)
Average PFF Grades Last 5 Years:
- Khalil Mack: 90.4
- Von Miller: 88.7
- Demarcus Lawrence: 83.2
- Chandler Jones: 77.8
- Whitney Mercilus: 64.5
Sacks the Last 5 Years: (not including week 1 games in 2021)
- Chandler Jones: 61
- Von Miller: 56.5
- Khalil Mack: 53.5
- Demarcus Lawrence: 36.5
- Whitney Mercilus: 24
Kyle Odegard of compare.bet wrote this excellent article today about “what kind of contract Chandler Jones should be seeking?”
Your mission —- “should you decide to accept it, Mr. Phelps” —-is to read Kyle’s article and then write down the figures (years, total contract, total guaranteed money) that you believe Chandler Jones should be offered by the Cardinals, assuming he has a Pro Bowl caliber season.
Tomorrow we are having Kyle Odegard back as our guest on the Red Rain Podcast and will talk more about this and the Cardinals Week 1 victory with him.
Questions for ROTB members:
- Would you extend Chandler Jones asap and if so, at what figures?
- Would you wait to see how the rest of the season goes, knowing you have the franchise tag as a safety net?
- If Chandler Jones has a Pro Bowl season, what figures would you offer him if you were the GM?