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Cardinals, Chandler Jones reach extension

The Arizona Cardinals reached a long-term extension with pass rushing specialist Chandler Jones on Friday that will keep Jones in the fold through the 2021 season.

So much for the franchise tag.

Less than two weeks after using the tag to keep outside linebacker Chandler Jones in Arizona for the 2017 season, the Cardinals agreed to a five-year contract extension with Jones that will keep him with the organization through 2021, the team announced Friday. 

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Jones will earn $83 million over five seasons with $53 million guaranteed. 

The former first round draft pick out of Syracuse spent the first four seasons of his career with the New England Patriots before coming to Arizona via a trade with the Cardinals last March that sent offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper and Arizona's second round draft pick to New England in exchange for Jones. 

Jones has posted a double-digit sack total in three of his first five NFL seasons, including in back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016. With an 11.0 sack campaign last year, Jones finished second on the Cardinals in that category to second-year pass rusher Markus Golden, who is signed through the 2018 season.

Jones has 47.0 career sacks and 14 forced fumbles during his NFL career, and has quickly emerged as one of the league's most feared pass rushers. With Arizona likely set to lose defensive lineman Calais Campbell in free agency, the organization wanted to ensure it still had an ample amount of threats up front to pressure opposing quarterbacks, and signing Jones to a long-term deal accomplishes this goal.

With Jones now under contract through 2021, Jones joins cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Tyrann Mathieu as the core members of Arizona's defense moving forward as all three players are signed through at least 2020. 

By agreeing with Jones on a long-term deal, Arizona will now have over $40 million tied to the trio of Jones, Peterson and Mathieu annually through the 2020 season. 

After finishing 20th in the league in team sacks in 2015, Arizona took over the NFL lead in sacks in 2016 thanks in large part to the efforts of Jones and the emergence of Golden this year. 

Jones is the third free agent the Cardinals have now signed to a multi-year contract this offseason, as he joins Josh Mauro and Jermaine Gresham, who both signed extensions to remain with the organization. 

Because Arizona already used the franchise tag on Jones and the window to exercise a team's right to franchise tag a player has closed, the Cardinals cannot use the franchise tag on any other free agent-to-be this offseason. 


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