Cardinals free agent Chandler Jones: ‘I get to pick what scheme to play in’
Mar 11, 2022, 1:43 PM
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
Of the NFL unrestricted free agents set to test the open waters when negotiating begins Monday, linebacker Chandler Jones ranks among the top players.
But after the franchise tag deadline came and went with no deal for the linebacker, the writing is on the wall: Jones will most likely be playing for another team come Week 1.
For Jones, that next stop in his career will come down to how a team uses his strengths as opposed to how big a suitor’s checkbook is.
As Jones put it Friday while on with The NFL Players Podcast: “Where can Chandler Jones become Chandler Jones?”
“To be completely honest … it’s not about money at all,” Jones told The NFL Players Podcast. “Where I am in my career, I’ve gotten contracts, I’ve gotten the Super Bowl, but I think scheme is huge. Or for me, it’s winning more championships. I’ll say it again, it’s not about money.
“I will say I want to go to a place that maximizes my talents. I’ll say in my career there was a lot of times where I caught myself out of position. I do take the blame, but at the same time it’s like, ‘Hey, should I have been doing that?’ I think I have enough comfort where I am in my career and this age to say that.”
Jones used this past season as an example of the team not scheming the linebacker for success. After racking up five sacks against the Tennessee Titans in the Cardinals’ season opener, Jones compiled just 5.5 over the next 14 contests. He finished second on the team behind Markus Golden (11).
There’s also the contradicting fact that Jones had his best year, at least in terms of sack totals (19), as a Cardinal under defensive coordinator Vance Joseph in 2019.
Despite the notion that Jones isn’t worried about money, it would be a stretch to see him play anywhere on a discount, especially after voicing his frustrations over his contract last offseason to the point where he requested a trade from Arizona.
“There are a lot of different things I have to think about with myself,” Jones said. “This is a time I can really focus on myself and what fits for me. Being a free agent, in my 10, 11 years of playing, I never had the opportunity to pick what scheme I wanted to be in or what kind of defense. I’ve always been handed (a scheme). Not complaining, but I was drafted to the Patriots, and then I was traded to the Arizona Cardinals.
“While I was on the Cardinals, I had about three defensive coordinators, a lot of different defensive coaches, and I never had the opportunity to actually say, ‘Hey, this is what I want to do.’ I’ve always been handed it. … I get to pick what scheme I’m going to be in, and that’s one thing that’s going to be huge in my decision.”