In one of the more predictable trades in Patriots history, defensive end Chandler Jones was sent to the Arizona Cardinals for guard Jonathan Cooper and a 2016 2nd Round pick, which is the 61st pick in the Draft. Jones is set to become a free agent after the 2016 season and is going to demand a contract that the Patriots were never going to offer. Trading Jones now allows the Patriots to gain two strong assets in return, and they can also replace Jones in free agency, the draft, or possibly with a player currently on the roster.
Jones, 26, was the 21st selection in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Syracuse University. He started 52 of 55 games in a Patriots uniform, missing nine games in four years, six of those coming in 2014. 2015 was Jones best overall season, at least statistically speaking, finishing with 12.5 sacks, 31 solo tackles, 13 assisted tackles, four forced fumbles, two passes defended, and one interception. 2013 was also a strong year for Jones as he finished with 11.5 sacks, 42 tackles, and 42 assisted tackles, but his forced turnovers are what set apart his 2015 season. In four years, Jones amassed 36 sacks, 134 tackles, 40 assisted tackles, ten forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception, nine passes defended, and two touchdowns. Jones appeared in four AFC Championships from '12 to '15 with the Patriots, winning in 2014 en route to the 2014 Super Bowl championship.
Cooper, 26, was the 7th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of the University of North Carolina. Cooper started 11 of 24 total games with the Cardinals over the past two seasons, with nine of those starts coming in 14 games. Considering that Cooper was a top-ten pick and considered the top guard in his class, he's been a disappointment. Cooper is still just 26 and he'll have an opportunity to learn under Dante Scarnecchia, one of the best offensive line coaches the NFL has ever seen. If Scar can work his magic, this trade could end up being a steal for New England.
The Patriots also receive the Cardinals 2016 second round selection, which is the 61st pick in the draft. New England now has 11 selections in the upcoming draft and if they want to be aggressive and move up, they have the assets to make that happen.
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