We’re not used to seeing big trades in the NFL. It’s just not that kind of league. But the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots pulled one off, sending Jonathan Cooper to the perennial AFC East champions while Chandler Jones landed in the desert, while a second round pick also went from the Cardinals to the Patriots.
The Patriots didn’t want to give Jones an extension he’ll get in Arizona following a 12.5 sacks season in 2015. The Cardinals wanted more explosiveness on the pass rush, the Patriots needed better protection for Tom Brady. Everyone wins. But the Cardinals are left in need of someone to fill in for Cooper, who spent last season at right guard and in 2014 played left guard as he enters the fourth and final season of his rookie deal, not playing at all in 2013.
The Patriots took care of their “hole” at the pass rush slot with Chris Long, who had plenty of teams trying to sign him, but opted for the Patriots, maybe because, as always during this time of year, they seem to present the best shot of making the playoffs and going all the way. They also have some extensions to give out, or maybe Bill Belichick will continue with his habit of sending away players just before they become too expensive, unless they’re called Brady.
As for the Cardinals, they’ve been quite busy at hosting offensive linemen. They brought over Geoff Schwartz who last played for the New York Giants and are very interested in Evan Mathis, who is trying to decide between them, the Denver Broncos or retiring altogether. Andre Smith might also be an option, but he’s further down the list for the Cardinals, who were in the top 10 last season when it came to protecting the quarterback, and know Carson Palmer isn’t going to work well behind a dysfunctional line.