The Arizona Cardinals have acquired defensive end Chandler Jones from the New England Patriots via trade. In return, the Cardinals sent guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick to New England, who confirmed the deal on Tuesday.
Jones, 26, was a first-round pick by the Patriots in 2012 and has been a starter ever since. He played in 15 games with them last season, compiling 44 combined tackles, 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. The latter two stats were both career highs, and he also managed an interception and two passes defended on the season.
He bid farewell to the Patriots on Twitter:
Cooper played in 14 games and started nine with the Cardinals last season. He was a first-round pick in 2013, but has dealt with significant knee injuries since he joined the league. Last season, he missed a couple games with injuries. When he was healthy to return, the Cardinals kept him on the bench in favor of veteran Ted Larsen.
Jones drew attention earlier in the offseason for a reported incident in which he had a bad reaction to synthetic marijuana and had to be hospitalized. Nothing really came of the incident as Jones declined to elaborate beyond saying he made a "stupid mistake."
Jones has played in 55 career games for the Patriots with 211 combines tackles, 36 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, a pair of fumble recoveries and an interception. He definitely has shown a lot more in the NFL than Cooper has, which is why the Cardinals had to add a second-round pick to the equation.
As a first-round pick, Jones had a fifth-year option on his rookie contract, which will pay him a base salary of $7.79 million next season. His cap hit is the same and became fully guaranteed on March 9. It's possible the Patriots felt that they would be unable to extend Jones beyond his rookie deal, especially given the high cost of pass rushers in today's NFL.
The Patriots do not have a first-round pick in this year's draft due to the team's punishment in the DeflateGate scandal. They now have back-to-back picks in the second round.
* * *
Expert Drafters: How the Patriots and other top franchises do it