Jones, who has been with the Cardinals since 2016 when he was traded from the New England Patriots, is coming off a season with 10.5 sacks and 41 tackles. He’s also had 71.5 sacks since 2016, the third-most of any NFL player over that time.
However, Jones doesn’t come cheap for the Cards. The star defender had a cap number of $20.176 million in 2021 and is entitled to a 20 percent raise next season, bringing that total up to $24.192 million. Arizona, dealing with cap issues and the need to restructure quarterback Kyler Murray’s contract, does not seem to have the ability or desire to meet that number.
Hence, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Saturday that the team is not expected to use their franchise tag on the four-time Pro Bowler, which will essentially make him a free agent.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) March 6, 2022
This doesn’t mean that Jones can’t or won’t re-sign with the Cardinals. However, given that he already came into this season feeling disrespected by the team, having skippered OTAs, minicamp, and the start of training camp, it’s hard to imagine he feels much better about the situation now.
Jones opened the 2021 season with a five-sack game against the Tennessee Titans in what was seen as a true “see what I can do” performance for the Cardinals. But now that Jones finds himself right back here again, one wonders if he even wants to remain with the team or if he’d prefer a fresh start somewhere where he feels appreciated.
The news about Jones certainly has a lot of NFL folks thinking about where he might end up playing next season.
Feels like a swing Veach would take..
Brandon Daly coached Jones in New England for 2 seasons..
— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) March 6, 2022
— Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels) March 6, 2022
Hey Browns 👀 https://t.co/rM0Gfql9Yu
— James Mastrucci (@Jimmmitude) March 6, 2022
Good fit for jets? https://t.co/l8yNbKDoft
— Levi (@NY_sports_fan_) March 6, 2022