Chandler Jones is likely headed for Canton when his career is over. Before then, though, he’s about to hit NFL free agency for the first time.
Chandler Jones is about to cash in.
At 32 years old, Jones has done most everything an NFL player can. In 10 pro seasons, he’s been named to four Pro Bowls, twice been a First-Team All-Pro, and won a Super Bowl. He’s also been incredibly consistent, racking up double-digit sacks in six of the past seven seasons, all but one coming with the Arizona Cardinals.
However, he’s now doing something he never has: hitting free agency.
Although the list of prospective first-round edge rushers is considerable and the veterans hitting the market are as well — a group including Von Miller, Emmanuel Ogbah, Haason Reddick, Jadeveon Clowney, Melvin Ingram and others — Jones stands out. His 107.5 career sacks rank tied for 25th all-time on the official list, and second among active players behind only Miller.
For Jones, though, his first foray into free agency won’t only be about finding the biggest check. It’ll be about getting to the right fit. Jones talked about such a situation on the NFL Players Podcast, per the Arizona Cardinals team website.
“There are a lot of different things I have to think about. 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’ve never had the opportunity to pick what scheme I wanted to be in or what kind of defense. I’ve always (had it) handed to me. 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 get to pick what scheme I’m going to be in, and that will be huge in my decision.”
For Jones, it makes sense to find continuity. There are a litany of teams who make sense for him, including contenders such as the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams have elite defensive coordinators in Leslie Frazier and Jonathan Gannon, respectively. Each is also coming off playoff appearances, and while Buffalo is a better team, Philadelphia is in a much easier conference to win.
In a few days, NFL free agency begins and Jones’ representation will be fielding calls. Where he lands remains unclear, but regardless of location, Jones is about to become much richer. Rightfully so.