The New England Patriots really transformed their defensive this offseason, which was highlighted by free agent additions like Matt Judon and Jalen Mills.
They also brought back Kyle Van Noy, signed Davon Godchaux and further bolstered their defensive line in the form of draft picks Christian Barmore and Ronnie Perkins.
The return of linebacker Dont’a Hightower, meanwhile, is arguably the biggest addition of them all. Seemingly, the change never ends.
Despite all that, however, fans are still concerned about the Patriots’ pass rush, and understandably so given Judon is the only proven commodity in that department.
We’ll get more into why there’s so much skepticism later on For now, the Patriots have a tremendous opportunity to cement their status as a contender.
On Sunday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Cardinals star Chandler Jones, disgruntled with his contract, requested a trade from the organization this offseason.
With this in mind, can the Patriots make room for Jones?
Should the Patriots pursue a trade for Chandler Jones?
When you consider it’s still up for debate who’s going to start opposite Judon on the edge, the Patriots could absolutely find room for Jones. As things stand, the likes of Deatrich Wise, Henry Anderson and Lawrence Guy are the candidates for that starting spot.
Since Guy and Wise are more than capable of playing on the interior — and they’ll likely need to play significant snaps there if Godchaux takes time to adapt to a new system — New England could easily justify adding Jones to the mix.
After all, neither one of Wise, Guy or Anderson have come close to replicating the pass-rushing numbers Jones has produced with the Cardinals. From 2015 to 2019, the former Patriots first-round pick racked up 254 tackles (78 for loss), 72.5 sacks, 116 QB hits, and 21 forced fumbles.
Jones also missed just one game during that span. While the three-time Pro Bowler underwent season-ending surgery to repair a biceps injury last year, we’re talking about a historically durable player … one that has the most sacks of any player (92) since he entered the NFL.
The one caveat that would come with trading for Jones, however, is that the Patriots, who have roughly $17.5 million in leftover cap space, wouldn’t be able to afford his $15.5 million cap hit for the upcoming season. Because of that, they’d likely have to sign the nine-year pro to a contract extension, which would lower his 2021 cap figure.
As long as the Patriots are on board with that — and giving up multiple draft picks and maybe an impact player/young asset — this is a trade you make 100% of the time.
After all, Jones could be the best version of himself in Bill Belichick’s system.