Patriots deal star DE Chandler Jones to Cards for OL Jonathan Cooper, pick

The Arizona Cardinals badly needed pass-rush help and they made a huge move to get a big-time pass rusher in a blockbuster trade with the Patriots on Tuesday.

A league source confirms to CBSSports.com that the Cardinals acquired Chandler Jones in a trade that sees them give up former first-round pick Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft choice.

Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the news.

Here's three things to know about the big-time offseason move:

1. Elite pass-rush help: The one thing the Cardinals have lacked under the current regime is an elite pass rusher.

Dwight Freeney (8.0 sacks, 2015), Alex Okafor (8, 2014) and John Abraham (11.5, 2013) led Arizona in sacks the last three years.

Jones is clearly the best pass rusher out of that group, totaling 30 sacks over the last three seasons.

He’s a versatile and athletic pass rusher with only one off-field issue serving as a pock on his resume. The Patriots are in a position where they need to pay a lot of guys in the near future on the defensive side of the ball. Jones is now someone they don’t have to worry about when it comes to being on the books.

At just 26, he’s entering his prime and is a decent bet for a long-term deal with Arizona if the two sides can work something out.

2. Offensive line versatility: The Patriots like to use a lot of different combinations on the offensive line, and they’ll be able to do so even more with the addition of Cooper.

A hyper-athletic player out of North Carolina, Cooper is light on his feet and capable of playing different spots on the line. He looked like a staple on the offensive line when he was chosen with a top-10 pick (No. 7 overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft.

But Cooper suffered a brutal injury (broken leg) in the preseason and it looks like the sort of thing that may have set him back for a long time. He started nine games for the Cardinals last year but was benched for Ted Larsen.

The Pats have now Tre Jackson, Shaq Mason, Bryan Stork and Cooper, giving them a heavy rotation of interior linemen. It’s starting to become a trend.

3. Pats’ draft outlook: The Patriots don’t have a first-round pick as a result of the Deflategate punishment from the NFL. But they won’t be struggling for picks early on thanks to moves they’ve made.

The Pats have two second-round picks now (No. 60 and No. 61 overall) thanks to the trade from Arizona.

Bill Belichick also gets No. 91 (his original third-round pick) and No. 96 (a compensatory pick).
So New England gets four picks in the top-100 despite losing their first-round pick. Pretty impressive finagling considering how they were hamstrung.

Chandler Jones headed to Arizona. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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