Pro Football Focus: Cardinals win the Chandler Jones deal

Mar 15, 2016, 2:41 PM | Updated: 4:25 pm
New England Patriots defensive lineman Chandler Jones warms up on the field during an NFL football ...
New England Patriots defensive lineman Chandler Jones warms up on the field during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. Jones was admitted to a hospital on Sunday and released the same day, the team said in a statement that did not elaborate on the nature of the medical issue. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

It came out of nowhere, but the Arizona Cardinals addressed their need for a pass rusher by acquiring Chandler Jones from the New England Patriots in exchange for guard Jonathan Cooper and a 2016 second-round pick (61st overall).

Jones, 26, just finished up his fourth NFL season — all with the Patriots. The 2012 first-round pick was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career in 2015, when he finished with 12.5 sacks.

In his career, Jones has amassed 36 sacks, which is tied for the 11th-most in the NFL in that span.

Many have weighed in on the deal, assigning grades for each team. Pro Football Focus has done just that, and has surmised that the Cardinals walk away with the better return in the trade. PFF gave the Cardinals a ‘B’.

The Cardinals likely wanted to get rid of Cooper as little more than a salary dump, as they were in the process of moving him to center to try and find a position they believed him to be viable at.

The more important part of the trade, from Arizona’s point of view, is sending a second-round pick to New England in exchange for Chandler Jones. In the Patriots’ multiple fronts, Jones has been moved to several different positions, and the only one he has really struggled at was 3-4 defensive end.

If the Cardinals want to employ him as a stout edge defender, he is more than capable of repaying them with significant pressure and an impressive run-defense grade. Last season, he totaled 62 defensive pressures, which is a marked improvement over anybody on the Arizona roster. Rookie Markus Golden showed well for them in his first season, and could potentially form a nice pair of edge defenders for a team that has been struggling to find pass-rush on the perimeter for some time.

The website gave the Patriots a ‘C+’ mark, noting that New England had lost faith in Jones after a strange off-field incident late last season and the fact that Trey Flowers, a fourth-round pick in 2015, is waiting to take over reps at the position. On Cooper, PFF points out New England is hoping to “unearth the potential” the 2013 first-round pick showed coming out of North Carolina.

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