The Cardinals broke precedent when they extended the contract of newly acquired receiver DeAndre Hopkins with three years still remaining on his deal but, sources said, have yet to engage in any meaningful dialogue whatsoever with Chandler Jones, who has two years left on his deal and has been the team's best player since being acquired in 2016.
Jones, 30, has more sacks than anyone in the NFL since entering the league in 2012 (97 sacks, 2 1/2 more than Von Miller) and has registered double-digit sacks in all four years in Arizona (despite playing on some miserable teams). Jones registered 60 sacks from 2016-19 -- eight more than anyone else in the NFL -- and has grossly outperformed his last contract, yet the Cardinals have made no attempts to redo his deal or reward him for being a standout amid a tenure filled with regime changes and an exodus of premier defensive talent like Tyrann Mathieu and Calais Campbell.
While Jones has not broached the subject with management, team sources said, the Cardinals' haste to extend Hopkins' contract, despite him never playing a snap for the team and having a "hold-in" of sorts during training camp while he awaited a new deal, has not gone unnoticed in the locker room. In the past, ownership has told players it would not extend their deal with multiple years left on a deal. General managers around the league believe Jones is one of the biggest bargains in the sport, set to make $16 million this year and $15.5 million next year at a time when less-accomplished pass rushers like Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett earned contracts worth $25-27 million a season. Jones has been a model performer on field and off for the Cardinals while becoming a face of the franchise and is a critical element to their revamped defense, which has made Arizona's inactivity on this matter unusual to rival executives.
The Cardinals could apply the same structure as used with Hopkins to rectify this situation but have given no indication to this point that is in the works. Sources said the Cardinals are also not engaged in discussions with former All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is in the final year of his deal and expected to hit the market for the first time in 2021.
Jones is not one to voice his displeasure with others, or to hold out, but his contract situation has been festering all offseason and the Cardinals have done nothing to this point to make him feel like a priority. It would be implausible to consider that Jones' representation is not aware of the precedent set by the Hopkins contract, given the lack of movement in their situation, though agent Ethan Lock declined to comment on the matter. Still, it's a situation worth monitoring, with the Cardinals hopeful of a playoff berth in the second year under coach Kliff Kingsbury and Jones the only proven edge presence on the roster.