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Report: Cardinals restructured OLB Chandler Jones’ contract

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws as Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Adding flexibility this season, the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday restructured Chandler Jones’ contract to add $4 million of cap space, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter added that Arizona does not foresee dealing for Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who requested a trade this week. But Schefter reports that the Cardinals did at least speak with the Jaguars about Ramsey’s availability.

The price is likely too high for Arizona.

Jacksonville is reportedly seeking a trade package of a first-round pick plus another first-round pick or a quality starter in exchange for Ramsey, a fourth-year pro who is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Additionally, a team trading for Ramsey would need to be sure he is comfortable joining them, as his trade request is reportedly about his desire to join a winning team, reports ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

Ramsey is under his rookie deal through 2020. A team trading for him would likely be willing to make him the highest-paid player at his position — and soon.

Arizona had just $1.8 million in cap space before the Jones contract maneuver, the second-smallest figure in the NFL.

For the Cardinals, there are more pressing roster holes to prioritize spending as contracts open up their ability to spend in the coming years.

They expressed excitement about the addition of veteran corner Robert Alford before a broken leg put him on the injured reserve prior to the regular season, and Patrick Peterson has yet to show signs of dropping off at 29 years old — he’s five years older than Ramsey.

Though two games of the season might be a small sample size, Arizona has also gotten promising cornerback play with Peterson sidelined for six games due to a PED suspension. Byron Murphy, Arizona’s 2019 second-round pick, and even second-year pro Chris Jones, who did not appear in a game as an undrafted rookie, have held up well.

The Cardinals also have veteran Tramaine Brock Sr. contributing at both nickel and corner.

As for Jones, the outside linebacker was on a base salary of $16.5 million and along with a signing bonus spread out in increments of $3 million per season was counting $19.5 million against the Cardinals’ cap, per Spotrac.

Shifting money around could add to his cap hit in the next two seasons.

While a Ramsey trade appears unlikely as other NFL teams line up to consider a deal with Jacksonville, the Jones contract adjustment does signal two things for the Cardinals.

Firstly, that the 29-year-old Jones has lived up to his five-year, $83 million contract extension signed in 2017 by recording 42 sacks and playing in every one of his 50 regular season games since he joined Arizona.

Secondly, it suggests that, through two games, general manager Steve Keim is set on paying out $4 million in guaranteed money he likely would pay anyway, just in case he can upgrade the roster this season.

Phillips Law Group

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