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Cardinals are going to franchise tag ED Chandler Jones if they can’t extend him

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The Cardinals really want Jones to remain with the team.

The New England Patriots traded away former 1st round edge defender Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals for a 2nd round pick and a former top 10 offensive guard in Jonathan Cooper. Cooper didn’t pan out, but the Patriots converted the draft picks into LG Joe Thuney and WR Malcolm Mitchell. New England is pretty happy with how the trade panned out.

And so are the Cardinals.

Jones is set to be a free agent after this year and the Cardinals are set on keeping him within the organization, either by extension or franchise tag.

“Chandler’s not going anywhere because if we have to, we will franchise him,” Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said during a season-ending press conference.

Since Jones is in the 3-4 defense in Arizona, he is considered a linebacker, versus being a defensive end in New England. The franchise tag for linebackers has been roughly $1.5 million less than the tag for defensive ends and is set to be around $15 million per year. The floor for a multi-year extension is likely $10 million per year, based on recent contracts to premium pass rushers.

Jones hit a wall in production over the second half of the season, as has Thuney; Mitchell is sidelined with a knee injury. The Patriots have found Jones’ replacement in Trey Flowers and will work on retaining both Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long for the next few years for roughly half the price of Jones’ annual contract- combined.