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Chandler Jones Worth The Money

Posted Nov 26, 2017

Notes: Edge-rusher has huge game; Foster's crucial catch; Bucannon hurt

Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones celebrates after one of his many big plays against the Jaguars.

The Cardinals didn’t have enough money in the budget to keep veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell this offseason, which was tough to stomach when he came to town Sunday and had a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

While Campbell has been excellent for the Jaguars, it’s impossible to argue with the Cardinals’ allocation of those resources.

Chandler Jones was the player signed to a lavish contract extension, and he’s earned every penny of his five-year, $83 million deal thus far. The Cardinals’ outside linebacker continued his dynamic season in the 27-24 win over Jacksonville, collecting six tackles, two sacks and five tackles for loss.

“I think you know why we paid the guy,” coach Bruce Arians said.

Jones now has 12 sacks on the year, which is tied with the Vikings’ Everson Griffen for the most in the NFL. Jones nearly had a third in the game, but Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles slipped from his grasp.

He also played well against the run, grasping onto Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette in the backfield multiple times. The loss of Campbell has hurt the Cardinals’ defensive front this season, as did the season-ending knee injury to Markus Golden, but Jones is doing what he can to make up for it.

“I feel good,” Jones said. “I’m not sure if you guys realize it, but I lost about 10-to-20 pounds. I feel like a lot of credit’s to that. I’m more agile. I feel like I’m faster and have more cardio.”

Campbell had the critical fumble return for a score, which gave the Jaguars a 17-16 lead early in the fourth quarter. He was otherwise quiet, finishing with three tackles, including one for loss. He came into the game with 11½ sacks.

"We were inches away from making plays that could have won the game or swung it our way," Campbell said. "I felt like I didn't play my best game today. Why know why, but we will grade the tape and try to move on."

FOSTER COMES UP BIG

Running back D.J. Foster was inactive for much of the season, but was elevated to a third-down pass-catching role after this week’s release of Andre Ellington.

He played a big role on Sunday, catching three passes for 18 yards, including a 12-yarder to set up Phil Dawson’s game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter. Foster’s sideline grab was reviewed and the play stood as he kept both feet on the grass as he hauled it in.

“It was good to go out there on something I knew how to do, something I took my reps at,” Foster said. “I had to go make a play, and Blaine threw a hell of a ball.”

It was the home debut for Foster, who starred at Scottsdale Saguaro High School and Arizona State. His parents were waiting for him outside the locker room postgame.

“I’m going to go say hi to them, give Moms a hug, say what’s up to the family, enjoy the moment,” Foster said.

DEONE BUCANNON INJURED

Money linebacker Deone Bucannon injured his leg in the first quarter and didn’t return. Bucannon missed the first three games of the season while recovering from offseason ankle surgery. The injury is on the same leg, although it’s unclear if it has anything to do with the previous issue.

Arians said he would know more Monday.

Josh Bynes filled in nicely, finishing with a team-high eight tackles and a forced fumble which linebacker Karlos Dansby recovered. Running back Kerwynn Williams hurt his ribs in the game but later returned.

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