July 26, 2021

10 Potential Trade Destinations for Cardinals' Chandler Jones, Ranked

The NFL offseason is all but over, but it looks like there could be one or two more big trades made before the start of the 2021 NFL season.

Arizona Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones has reportedly asked the team to trade him on the eve of training camp, citing unhappiness with his current contract. Jones was limited to just five games last season due to injury but amassed 19 sacks in 2019, solidifying himself as one of the best sack artists in the league.

Jones is entering the final year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract. While the Cardinals haven’t commented on his request, trading Jones would save them some money, so it’s reasonable that Arizona looks to move him before the season.

If that ends up happening, we've ranked the 10 best destinations for the premier pass rusher. 

10. Detroit Lions

The Lions may not have high hopes for the upcoming season, but they have enough cap space to pay Jones and give him a contract extension.

After spending their second- and third-round picks on defensive linemen this year, Detroit is attempting to build a stout defensive front. Adding Jones and locking him up for a few years could go a long way toward building one of the better defensive lines in the NFL and making the Lions a competitive team sooner rather than later.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

Money-wise, the Jags have plenty of cap space, so trading for Jones should be easy in that regard.

On the field, Jacksonville could use a proven pass rusher like Jones. The Jaguars used first-rounders on edge rushers in both 2019 with Josh Allen and 2020 with K’Lavon Chaisson. Not only could Jones mentor those two players, but he would make their job a lot easier by attracting more attention on his side of the line.

Adding Jihad Ward over the offseason isn’t going to cut it. However, the addition of Jones could make a significant impact on the Jacksonville defense, giving the Jags a fighting chance if Urban Meyer can get the offense going.

8. New York Jets

The cap room is available for the Jets if they want to make a play for Jones. Even after adding Carl Lawson during the offseason, this doesn’t exactly look like a formidable defensive front. Jones could quickly change that by giving new head coach Robert Saleh the kind of elite pass rusher who helped made him successful with the 49ers.

Jones becoming available on the trade market gives the Jets a golden opportunity to make a smart decision as a franchise. They just have to seize the opportunity.

7. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders' shoddy defense could use as many talented players as possible. While they have Clelin Ferrell, a first-round pick from 2019, and Maxx Crosby, who led the team with seven sacks last year. Las Vegas also added Yannick Ngakoue during the offseason. But when you consider the quarterbacks the Raiders have to face twice in the AFC West, it's impossible to have enough pass rushers.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas has an incredibly young secondary, albeit one with a lot of promise. The Raiders need to have a top-flight pass rush to help protect the back end of their defense.

6. Los Angeles Chargers

Just imagine Jones and Joey Bosa rushing from opposite sides of the defensive line. While the Chargers are holding out hope for Jerry Tillery, he’s yet to develop into an impact player. That makes it easy to see a clear need on the Los Angeles defense.

With a young quarterback and a reworked offensive line, the Chargers need to have a strong defense if they hope to make the playoffs in 2021, and trading for Jones would be a big step in the right direction.

5. New England Patriots

Remember that the Patriots initially drafted Jones, so it’s not a stretch to think that Bill Belichick would want him back.

Even after adding Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy during the offseason, there’s still room for a pass rusher like Jones. There are still no guarantees that the New England offense gets on track this year given the lingering uncertainty at quarterback with Cam Newton and Mac Jones.

Financially, it wouldn’t be hard to make things work, which is why a reunion between Chandler Jones and the Pats shouldn’t be ruled out.

4. Miami Dolphins

For what it’s worth, the Miami defense was just fine last year, so Jones would be more of a luxury than a need. But the Dolphins shouldn’t be overly confident about their offense heading into the season, so perhaps the play is to double-down on the defensive side of the ball.

Rather than forcing first-round pick Jaelan Phillips into a starting role right away, they could bring him along slowly behind Jones. Keep in mind that Miami also traded away Shaq Lawson earlier this offseason, so acquiring Jones could ensure that Miami doesn’t take a step back on the defensive side of the ball.

3. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were solid defensively last year despite lacking an elite pass-rusher. Surely, they need to continue to give Lamar Jackson more support on the defensive side of the ball if they hope to become the best team in the AFC East. That means adding a top-flight pass-rusher like Jones, especially after losing Matt Judon during the offseason.

Baltimore used a first-round pick on Odafe Oweh in this year’s draft. But Jones would be a sure thing and make the Ravens a lot more formidable defensively.

2. Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis defense has a chance to be one of the best in the NFL, but the Colts do have to wonder about their pass rush after declining to re-sign Justin Houston. That could change if Jones happens to fall into their lap right before the start of the season.

First-round pick Kwity Paye is projected to start at one defensive end spot this year with second-round rookie Dayo Odeyingbo also on the depth chart. However, the Colts trade for Jones, they would guarantee themselves a formidable pass rush. They would also have a great mentor for their two young defensive ends.

1. Buffalo Bills

The Bills defense was one of the best in the NFL in 2019 but took a back seat to the offense last year. The problem in 2020 was the pass rush failed to maintain the same level the Bills reached in 2019.

Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison aren’t the pass rushers they once were, and the Bills may not be able to assume that first-rounder Gregory Rousseau or A.J. Epenesa, a second-round pick from 2020, will get the job done. That makes Jones a welcomed addition to the Buffalo defense, even if he has to transition back to being a defensive end.

Plus, Jones hails from upstate New York and played at Syracuse, so he would surely welcome an opportunity to play closer to home and join a team that has legitimate Super Bowl hopes. 

Photo: Getty Images