The Cardinals and Jones agreed to a five-year, $83 million contract Thursday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Jones has become a very rich man in a short span, progressing from the franchise tag on Feb. 27 to a long-term deal by the outset of the new league year. The contract was earned after he guided the Cardinals to an NFL-leading 48 sacks last season, though Calais Campbell's eight have left behind Arizona for Jacksonville in free agency. Still, Jones (11 sacks) and Markus Golden (12.5) form a fearsome pass-rushing duo, and the former will be seeking out the fourth double-digit tally of his career during the 2017 campaign.
The Cardinals and Jones are expected to come to terms on a five-year contract in excess of $16 million per season, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Despite a change of scenery from New England to Arizona, Jones upheld his end of the bargain in his first season with the Cardinals, helping the defense pace the NFL in the sack department with 48. Working in conjunction with Markus Golden (12.5 sacks) and Calais Campbell (eight), Jones achieved double-digit sacks (11) for the third time in the past four campaigns. After receiving the franchise tag on Feb. 27, Jones was in line for a tender of $14.75 million for the 2017 season, but negotiations on a new contract could still take place until July 15. Instead of months, the parties will require about a week and a half to reach an agreement on a long-term deal, if Wednesday's rumblings are to be believed.
Jones has been franchise tagged by the Cardinals, MMQB's Albert Breer reports. Jones is the first player league-wide to be designated as his team's franchise player, which, for a player at his position, is expected to earn him a tender offer for approximately $14.5 million for the 2017 campaign. After being traded from the Patriots prior to this past season, Jones went on to post 49 tackles, 11 sacks and two forced fumbles with the Cardinals. News of Jones' franchise tag comes on his 27th birthday, marking the prime of a career that's included at least 11 sacks in three of the last four seasons.
The Cardinals are expected to place their franchise tag on Jones, the Arizona Republic reports. The NFL has entered the two-week stretch in which organizations can utilize both the franchise and transition tags, but decisions must be made by 4 PM ET on March 1. If the Cardinals make such a call, as expected, the two sides will have until July 15 to reach agreement on a multi-year contract. If terms aren't reached, though, Jones will play under a salary in excess of $15 million next season. No matter what comes to pass, he's slated to form a formidable pass-rushing duo with Markus Golden, who both reached double-digit sacks in 2016.
Regarding Jones' contract status for 2017, coach Bruce Arians said Jones "is not going anywhere" and implied the franchise tag is a possibility if the two sides are unable to agree to an extension, Kyle Odegard of the Cardinals' official site reports. Jones was traded to Arizona in March of 2016 and instantly provided a pass-rushing force for the Cardinals. He ultimately notched 11 sacks during his first season in the desert and figures to retain IDP relevance for as long as Jones is a member of this talented defensive unit.