Grading the Patriots-Cardinals Chandler Jones trade
The deal: The New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals have reportedly agreed to a trade that will send Chandler Jones to Arizona, with the Patriots receiving the Cardinals’ second-round pick and former first-round guard Jonathan Cooper in return.
What it means for New England: The Patriots clearly lost faith in Jones, who is heading into the final year of his contract. A bizarre incident in January, where Jones showed up to a police station shirtless and allegedly high on synthetic marijuana, likely hurt his standing with the Pats, who have PFF College-favorite Trey Flowers waiting in the wings to get more playing time in his second year. The Patriots get a second-round pick in return, allowing them the flexibility to move up in the draft and select a player higher than the 60th pick they currently occupy; they also get to take a stab at reclaiming Cooper, a player they were apparently high on when he was coming out of North Carolina in 2013.
Cooper lost a year of his career to injury, and has been below-average at best when on the field. He surrendered 22 total pressures and was even benched in favor of Ted Larsen last season. The Patriots had a poor O-line last season (ranked 25th), so they will be hoping they can unearth the potential Cooper flashed that made him such a highly-touted prospect.
Grade for New England: C+
What it means for Arizona: 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.
Grade for Arizona: B