Chandler Jones reunion is a possibility

The New England Patriots have a lot of work to do this offseason. Despite improving by three wins in the 2020 season, which helped lead to a Wild Card appearance, the Buffalo Bills proved in that one game that while progress is nice, it’s still not enough.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be in the next few seasons, and with some solid moves, New England can take the next step forward in 2022. It’ll be tough, given a limited salary cap and that a number of the 2021 squad players are close to hitting the free agent market, but it won’t be impossible. The ship won’t be completely turned around in a single season, and it’s unrealistic to expect anything else.

It’s unclear what the Patriots intend or will do as much of their offseason planning hinges on JC Jackson as the star cornerback will single-handedly determine the course of the offseason. . Even so, the New England front office isn’t going to sit back and wait to see what happens; they’re going to actively identify targets in the free will, draft, and trade market no matter what, and we’re going to do the same here at C&C.

The class of free agents expected to hit the market is quite strong, and so there could be some big names on the move. Or in the case of Chandler Jones, there could be a store reunion. Given how ready Jones is for free agency and the Pats need more firepower for their passing rush, it’s not a stretch to imagine Jones returning to New England to close out his career.

New England Patriots could unleash their defensive potential by adding Chandler Jones

The Patriots pass rush was much better in 2021 than it was in 2020. That was primarily the result of adding Matthew Judon in free agency, as he contributed to a team leading 12.5 bags. However, his production dwindled at the end of the season and there wasn’t much production behind him in the sack department. While adding an edge rusher probably isn’t high on the list of things to do in the offseason, the addition of Jones would give the Pats one of the deadliest passing combos in the league.

For those who have forgotten, Jones’ illustrious career began with the New England Patriots. He spent his first four seasons with the Pats and was on the 2014 Super Bowl team. During that time, Jones became the team’s top passing thrower and earned his first Pro Bowl berth in 2015. when he picked up 12.5 bags.

It happened to be Jones’ last season in New England, as Bill Belichick sent him to the Arizona Cardinals so he could avoid giving him a massive extension. Jones’ career really took off in Arizona, as he became one of the league’s top pass throwers. He’s had at least 10 sacks in all but one of his seasons with the Cards, and that was in 2020 when he played just five games.

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Now Jones is a free agent, and it’s probably safe to assume he won’t return to Arizona. Jones was unhappy with his contract last offseason and requested a trade, but he ended up staying to complete his contract. That should be music to New England ears as they may try to bring Jones back to help an upstart Pats team.

Jones will be 32 at the start of next season, but his production is still solid. He reached his fourth Pro Bowl, racking up 10.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in 15 games, despite a ton of attention from opposing offensive lines. Jones was supposed to team up with JJ Watt and destroy the o-lines, but that never happened. An unexpected 11-sack campaign from Markus Golden helped, but he benefited a lot from the extra attention Jones was attracting.

Pairing Jones with Judon could be a job hazard for opposing quarterbacks. Judon appears to be entering his prime, and while Jones’ best days are likely behind him, playing alongside Judon could allow him to break free from the dual teams he’s become so used to in Arizona. Jones also has experience in the New England system, which is a plus that sets him apart from other potential targets.

Jones is going to command a deal worth at least $15 million a year, which could be a problem for the New England Patriots depending on what they decide to do this offseason. If the front office decides to leave Jackson, they could try to load their front seven and get by with a weaker secondary, which isn’t the worst idea. We just saw the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl with a makeshift secondary thanks to a dominating front seven that could take over games.

Adding an edge rusher won’t be the team’s top priority this offseason, but it could become a solid path depending on how things go. Jones is one of the best in the business at what he does, and to pair an already solid pass led by Judon with him would be scary. He probably won’t be their first choice, but the New England Patriots could benefit greatly from a reunion with Jones.

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