Patriots trade Chandler Jones to Cardinals
By Peter Santo
In a league not typically associated with blockbuster trades and frantic free agent signings, the Patriots certainly made a huge trade yesterday, trading DE Chandler Jones to the Cardinals in exchange for OG Jonathan Cooper and a second round draft pick.
Something had to give for the Patriots, they had four defensive stars who couldn’t all be signed to long term contracts. Simply put, the Patriots valued Malcolm Butler, Dont’a Hightower, and Jamie Collins more than Chandler Jones, as I think they should have.
The front seven is not the issue for the Patriots, it is not what kept them out of the Super Bowl. They desperately needed help on the offensive line, and sometimes tough decisions have to be made in order to fill needs.
Jones led the team in sacks last season, and will add to an already formidable Cardinal pass rush as they look to make a Super Bowl run of their own.
Patriots fans, you might be wondering who this Jonathan Cooper guy is. Cooper was the 7th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of the University of North Carolina. However, his tenure in Arizona never really got started mostly due to injury.
He began the season as a backup guard before getting injured, but will be a candidate for all three interior lineman positions for the shorthanded Patriots.
New England didn’t waste any time finding Jones’ replacement, signing former Ram Chris Long to a one year contract. Pass rush became a need for the Patriots after dealing Jones, and investing in a low risk contract with a veteran with upside makes sense.
Long will slide into a formidable pass rush that includes Jabaal Sheard and Rob Ninkovich along the defensive line along with pass rushing linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins.
As far as the draft picks go, New England now holds picks 60, 61, 96, and 91 in the upcoming draft. Not a bad way to make up for losing pick 29.
While this move came as a surprise to most, it wasn’t to me. Something had to give for the Pats, and they made the prudent choice trading Jones before his big money kicked in.
Head Coach Bill Belichick has shown that be trusts Ninkovich, Sheard and Long to replace Jones’ production. While this deal was certainly not easy to make, it was one the Patriots simply had to make.