There was a day and time when getting traded to the Arizona Cardinals meant one of two things — you’re career was nearly dead or you had become a problem child and the team was sending you off to the Siberia of the NFL.
No longer is that the case, as the Cardinals have become a perennial playoff contender and are a legitimate threat to make a run at the Super Bowl.
For a talented pass rusher like former New England Patriots outside linebacker Chandler Jones, getting traded there felt more like a blessing and less like the curse it would’ve felt like in the past. In fact, Jones made sure to reach out to his old coach Bill Belichick to thank him for not trading him to a “crappy team.”
“I didn’t get a chance to speak to him (the day of the trade) – he was on a flight or something,” Jones told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “But I called him the next day and said, ‘Hey, you could’ve traded me to any other team, so thank you for not trading me to a crappy team.’”
New England got guard Jonathan Cooper and a second round draft pick in return for Jones. New England used that second round pick to get an extra one, trading it for a third and fourth rounder (picking guard Joe Thuney and receiver Malcolm Mitchell).
It wasn’t as if the Patriots didn’t want to keep Jones, but financially, the deal made sense with the pass-rushing specialist entering an option year on his rookie contract and New England looking like they weren’t going to pony up the cash to keep the 26-year-old.
New England has a reputation for not paying big money to players who fit non-vital roles, so Jones was apparently ready for a potential deal.
“They’re not known for really paying guys over there. There were rumors going around that I might be traded, but you never really read too much into rumors. When it happened, it was just a tad shocking. But I packed my bags and moved on.”
He’ll get a chance to show his old team what they were missing in giving him up, as the two team play each other in their season opener on Sept. 11.