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Chandler Jones and Cardinals have made no progress on new deal; few indications one is happening

The Arizona Cardinals have but to supply something past a one-year contract extension to star move rusher Chandler Jones, in accordance with his agent, Ethan Lock, and even that included a wage lower from his already below-market 2021 compensation, leaving the perimeters far aside and missing any latest communication on a brand new deal for the pending free agent.

Lock has been attempting to have interaction the Cardinals in a significant dialogue on a brand new deal for the two-time All Professional for almost 18 months, because the finish of the 2019 season, he mentioned, getting stonewalled by common supervisor Steve Keim, prompting Jones to finally request a commerce this offseason. The edges have by no means had a proper forwards and backwards a couple of new deal and Arizona’s lone proposal got here simply days earlier than camp, Lock mentioned, which included only a $14M base wage for subsequent season and $1.5M in incentives (ought to he attain 15 sacks in 2021); Jones, who had 5 sacks final Sunday, is making simply $15.5M this season whereas latest extensions for different high move rushers like Myles Garrett, Joey Bosa and TJ Watt are averaging between $25M-$28M per 12 months. The Cardinals’ lone proposal included simply $4.5M assured on the time of signing, Lock mentioned.

“The July 21 supply, the one one they’ve made so far, was rejected with out hesitation,” mentioned Lock, a well-respected agent and negotiator with almost 40 years within the trade. “Since then, I’ve learn that the events are persevering with to speak about an extension – that’s incorrect.

“There have been no talks. None. In actual fact, the Cardinals haven’t engaged in any significant negotiations about extending Chandler throughout this whole interval.”

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Keim intimated in an interview with the Arizona Republic previous to the beginning of the season that the perimeters had been actively negotiating – “We’ll proceed to have one-on-one talks with him and his agent,” he mentioned. Nonetheless, Lock staunchly maintains that his repeated overtures have been rebuffed since early 2020, when Jones was coming off a monster 19-sack season with two years left on his deal (agreed to in 2017 after taking part in below his fifth-year choices following a commerce from New England).

Jones, who was an unstoppable pressure within the backfield keying a Week 1 win at Tennessee, stayed away from the crew all offseason because the Cardinals made no try and renew him whereas paying huge cash to newcomer JJ Watt and others. It was the second straight offseason by which the crew spent closely for outdoor additions however failed to deal with Jones in an inexpensive method, Lock mentioned, irritating the agent and his consumer and resulting in some terse exchanges and him in search of a commerce.

“For the report, Chandler wished to stay with the Cardinals if he acquired a multiyear deal commensurate together with his worth,” Lock mentioned. “But when the crew refused to increase him, sure, he wished a commerce.”

Jones, 31, has been extra productive than any edge rusher within the NFL since he entered the league, and vastly outperformed a five-year deal (averaging $16.5M/12 months) that expires after this season. Final season, Jones barely performed on account of a season-ending biceps damage in October, however nonetheless has 5 1/2 extra sacks than any participant within the league since getting into the NFL in 2012 (102 sacks in 125 video games). In his final 4 full seasons (2016-2019) Jones amassed 60 sacks, a staggering eight greater than another participant in that span.

Lock mentioned makes an attempt to have interaction in extension talks after 2019 went nowhere. Keim “did not return my name whereas we had been in Indianapolis (on the mix),” Lock mentioned, regardless of agreeing to a nose to nose there, “and by no means known as me after we returned to Arizona” (the place Lock additionally resides). Lock mentioned when he did lastly attain Keim on the cellphone final 12 months he was instructed the crew needed to first work on extensions for security Budda Baker and nook Patrick Peterson – since they’d only one 12 months left on their offers – earlier than addressing Jones, who had two on the time. 

Regardless of being a crew chief, residing year-round in Arizona and being an envoy for the crew past his on-field manufacturing, Jones watched because the Cardinals traded for De’Andre Hopkins in early 2020, then rewarded him with a report extension earlier than he ever performed a down and with three years remaining on his deal. Lock mentioned he reached out to Keim after the 2020 season as effectively, and by the point he was capable of get the final supervisor to reply to him the crew had signed Watt (older than Jones and with a much more in depth damage historical past) and purchased middle Rodney Hudson and reworked his contract, too.

“The cellphone name was contentious,” Lock mentioned, “not solely as a result of he had blown me off twice, and in doing so had blown Chandler off, but in addition as a result of he went from initially telling me he beloved Chandler like a son and wished him to retire as a Cardinal, to now saying – ‘I am not going to increase him, the man is 31, he had one sack final 12 months, and he is coming off an damage.'”

Throughout that dialog, Lock mentioned he put forth an inexpensive extension proposal that gave the Cardinals what they mentioned they wanted on the time – no will increase in pay or cap hit in 2021, pushing any raises into the long run when the cap is projected to escalate considerably. He acquired no counteroffer from Keim, and Lock mentioned he later heard again from one other member of the group that the crew couldn’t handle the state of affairs this offseason.

“‘So Chandler Jones goes into the ultimate 12 months of his contract,” Lock mentioned he requested the crew official, “with not a penny of assured cash, and also you’re telling me you may’t do something?’ And he repeated: ‘That is proper.'”

After Keim reached out to Jones instantly, the perimeters lastly met on the crew facility across the crew’s spring minicamp. The commerce request was issued at the moment when the Cardinals made no try at a multiyear extension, Lock mentioned, with no cause to anticipate that situation altering given the way in which occasions have unfolded up to now.

“Chandler was not upset in any respect that the crew tried to enhance its roster by signing different gamers,” Lock mentioned. “He supported that. However he understood that that didn’t preclude the Cardinals from extending and paying him what he deserved.

“And it was significantly upsetting when Keim’s excuse for extending Chandler was his age and torn bicep in 2020, his solely damage with the Cardinals, when Watt was older and had extra severe and depreciating accidents and surgical procedures previous to the Cardinals signing him. Chandler simply had a bicep.”

Arizona made no try and deal Jones – not shocking given the low wage and historical past of elite productiveness – and Jones returned for the beginning of coaching camp with severe monetary disincentives for holding out on this collective bargaining settlement. He’s clearly extremely motivated to have one other huge season and has but to expertise free company in his profession up to now, although he’s nearer to it than ever.

When requested about Jones final week Keim mentioned: “We’re not within the enterprise of eliminating good soccer gamers.” Barring him inserting an enormous franchise tag on Jones, it is laborious to check the Cardinals doing so at this level in need of an entire reversal from the previous 18 months.



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