Chandler Jones is the most feared pass-rusher that's currently set to become a free agent in March. Jones has been extremely dominant since entering the league way back in 2012 and remained at the top of his game throughout 2021. Jones recorded 10.5 sacks in 15 appearances for the Arizona Cardinals this past season, an accomplishment that qualified as the seventh double-digit-sack season of his illustrious career. Jones has been a model of consistency since turning pro and is set to receive a sizable new contract. The Cardinals have been hesitant to award Jones with the long-term lucrative extension his on-field play warrants. Jones took his demands public in the past, but general manager Steve Keim oddly refused to commit to Jones past this season. Jones and the Cardinals will almost certainly part ways in March as the former Syracuse standout is sure to demand nearly $20 million annually. Several teams would benefit from Jones' penchant for sacking opposing quarterbacks and his market should be robust with suitors that can afford him. We've identified three potential suitors that should have plenty of interest in signing Jones.
DENVER BRONCOSThe Denver Broncos solemnly waved goodbye to their all-time sack leader Von Miller in a blockbuster early November trade that sent Miller to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in exchange for multiple mid-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Miller is set to reach free agency, but a reunion with the Broncos is unlikely after the two parties agreed to part ways just months ago. That doesn't mean general manager George Paton isn't on the hunt for a proven and veteran quarterback hunter to pair opposite Bradley Chubb. Paton has publicly confirmed his wishes and the Broncos could be players for Jones' services. Paton's Broncos are entering the fastly approaching new league year in an excellent financial position. Denver currently possesses north of $39 million in cap space, via Spotrac. Just five NFL teams have more cap space than the Broncos do. Paton can afford to be extremely aggressive in pursuit of roster upgrades as he attempts to catapult his Broncos to contention in an extremely difficult AFC West division that sent two teams to the postseason. Paton will focus on acquiring a franchise quarterback this offseason, but building out an elite defense would be an excellent Plan B should their efforts to acquire an Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson strikeout.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTSGeneral manager Chris Ballard must be aggressive following Indianapolis' shocking failure to qualify for the postseason in 2021. The Colts were well-positioned to serve as a playoff contender when a staggering Week 18 loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars derailed their plans. Ballard's Colts now enter an offseason that requires upgrades at multiple positions, particularly across a defensive line that struggled to impact the pocket. DeForest Buckner is a force to be reckoned with on the interior, but the Colts can do a better job filling out the talents that flank him on either side. Kemoko Turay and Al-Quadin Muhammad, who combined for 11.5 sacks in 2021, are both set to reach free agency and their futures hang in the balance. The draftings of Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo have set the Colts up nicely for the future, but immediate production will be needed in 2022 should Turay and Muhammad depart elsewhere. The Colts have consistently entered recent offseasons with plenty of cap space. That sentiment rings true again as Indianapolis possesses $37.1 million in available money. It's time for Ballard to utilize that financial freedom accordingly. Gus Bradley is taking over as Indianapolis' new defensive coordinator following Matt Eberflus' departure and expectations will be higher for a defense that managed to string together just 33 sacks in 17 regular-season games. Jones is a scheme-versatile talent that can play in any defensive front.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKSThe Seattle Seahawks must do a better job getting after the quarterback in 2022 than they did a year ago. General manager John Schneider has attempted to fix their pass-rushing woes via the draft in recent seasons, but the likes of Darrell Taylor and L.J. Collier have failed to develop into double-digit sack artists thus far. Schneider has poured plenty of draft capital into the position throughout the years, and the need to pay a high-priced, proven EDGE defender has mercilessly arrived. The Seahawks recorded a measly 34 sacks in 17 regular-season contests, and none of their edge defenders reached 10 or more quarterback takedowns. Carlos Dunlap led the team in sacks with 8.5. Dunlap is under contract for 2022, and Seattle's defense would become a whole lot scarier if Jones lined up opposite Dunlap in 2022 with the likes of Taylor and Rasheem Green rotating in behind them. The Seahawks disappointed in multiple facets in 2021 while experiencing their worst campaign in the Russell Wilson era, but they have the financial freedom necessary to quickly course-correct the situation. Seattle possesses more than $36 million in cap space. The need to impact the pocket in a division that contains Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford, and Trey Lance is a must. Jones should be near the very top of their offseason wish list.
- Aug 16, 2022
- Aug 16, 2022