GM: Cards want to re-sign Chandler Jones; P2 departure was ‘business decision’

Sep 17, 2021, 3:18 PM
General manager Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals waves to fans before the NFL game against the P...
General manager Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals waves to fans before the NFL game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at State Farm Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Chandler Jones tossed imaginary cash to celebrate a sack, then searched for more money in his general manager’s pockets last Sunday. He was posturing, but probably not completely joking.

The Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker tied a franchise-high with five sacks in a single game, two of which were forced fumbles in a win over the Tennessee Titans.

And he made sure everyone remembered that his contract ends after this season. He would like an extension.

Would the Cardinals like to get that done?

“Easy question. Number one, he’s rubbing the wrong pockets and, number two, I would say this: We’re not in the business of moving on and getting rid of good football players,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday. “That’s a pretty easy answer.”

Jones, 31, is likely asking for premier pass rusher earnings. That’s pricey.

Two years ago, he posted a career-best 19 sacks — 3.5 off the NFL single-season record — with eight forced fumbles and five passes defensed. Check the film from Sunday, and he appears far from hitting a decline.

Arizona’s leverage in not handing him all the money comes in pointing out Jones’ last season. He got off to a slow start after a COVID-19-impacted training camp, then posted one sack and 11 tackles over four-plus games. Then came a year-ending biceps injury in Week 5.

So are negotiations at least alive regarding Jones staying with the Cardinals beyond 2021?

“Any conversation with our players and their specific agents remains confidential,” Keim said. “I’ll tell you this: I can’t be more proud of a player than Chandler Jones. The way he came off the biceps injury, I mean, he came to camp in probably the best shape of his career.

“Really lean, you can see it in his play, his explosiveness, his first step, he repertoire of pass-rush moves. Really excited about where he’s at and really looking forward to a huge your for him.”

P2’s Arizona return

As the Minnesota Vikings drop into State Farm Stadium for a Week 2 battle on Sunday, Keim will have a chance to see former Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson suit up as the opposition for the first time.

Peterson, who had played for Arizona since they drafted him in 2011, expressed that he lost respect for Keim specifically in how the GM communicated the team’s decision to move on from a potential return.

While Peterson spoke about the bitter parting with the Cardinals in his podcast over the offseason, he has kept things football-focused this week leading into his desert return.

“It’s like anything in this business,” Keim told Burns & Gambo. “I think the one thing that I would say is if you want to win a popularity contest, don’t become a general manager in the National Football League. … We have to make tough decisions. Sometimes business decisions become personal.”

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