ARIZONA CARDINALS

ESPN’s Jaws would re-sign Calais Campbell over Chandler Jones

Dec 29, 2016, 7:35 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2016, 11:09 am
Calais Campbell and Chandler Jones celebrate during the Arizona Cardinals' 23-20 win against the Sa...
Calais Campbell and Chandler Jones celebrate during the Arizona Cardinals' 23-20 win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Nov. 12,2016. (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)
LISTEN: Ron Jaworski, ESPN NFL analyst

Among the Cardinals’ free-agent decisions this upcoming offseason, the first and second will most likely come along the defensive front-seven.

Defensive end Calais Campbell and outside linebacker Chandler Jones will enter free agency commanding the most attention and, likely, the biggest paydays of Arizona’s free agents. The unknown for the Cardinals is if and how they can retain both, and if they want to do so.

Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns and Gambo posed the conundrum to ESPN’s Ron Jaworski on Thursday, and the analyst gave what might be the the more controversial answer.

“I keep Calais Campbell,” Jaworski said when asked to pick one or the other, “but I’m going to try like hell to keep both of them. Hey, I think Calais Campbell is one of the best defensive linemen in the National Football League, and I think Chandler Jones has also played very, very well.

“You put the gun to my head, you said, ‘Which one?’ I’m going to go Calais.”

Problem is, Campbell and Jones are at different points in their careers.

Jones has his prime to look forward to at 26 years old. With another 0.5 sack in the season finale Sunday, he can post his second double-digit sack campaign in a row. He has 9.5 sacks, 47 tackles, three forced fumbles and two passes defensed through 15 games in 2016.

Campbell, on the other hand, is 30 years old. But 2016 has been one of his more productive seasons. He has 50 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception to go with a fumble recovery for a score.

Age doesn’t seem to be slowing him down.

“Very productive though,” Jaworski said of Campbell. “Hey, I know you got to look at (age) and (GM) Steve Keim and (head coach) Bruce Arians, that whole bunch, it’s going to be a hard decision. A guy who’s been consistent over a long period of time and I still think has a lot of fuel left in the tank is Calais Campbell. And I’m not going to diminish Chandler Jones one bit — I think he’s played very, very well.”

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