The Cardinals traded a second-round pick for Chandler Jones in 2016 and then gave him a lucrative five-year extension this offseason, which meant there was considerable downside if the star edge-rusher didn't live up to expectations.
But as Bruce Arians said after Sunday's win over the Jaguars, "I think you know why we paid the guy."
Jones has established himself as one of the premier edge-rushers in the NFL, outplaying his contract this year despite a hefty price tag. After Sunday's two-sack, five-tackles-for-loss performance, Jones is now tied for the NFL lead in the former category and leads the latter.
He is also zeroing in on the franchise record for sacks in a season. Simeon Rice holds the mark with 16½ sacks in 1999. Jones has 12 through 11 games, and if he can manage one per game the rest of the way, he will surpass Rice.
Jones has been dynamic since the Cardinals acquired him, as his 23 sacks and 35 tackles for loss since the start of 2016 are more than any other player in that span. Effective edge-rushers are worth their weight in gold in the NFL, and General Manager Steve Keim's blockbuster trade for Jones has proven to be an astute one.
Cardinals' Single-Season Sack Leaders
|Freddie Jo Nunn||1988||14|
|Chandler Jones (through 11 games)||2017||12|