Chandler Jones: Future Buffalo Bill?

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Jones is one of the most under-appreciated pass rushers of this generation and his 97 sacks since 2012 rank first in the league. Today, reports came out that he is requesting a trade due to dissatisfaction with his contract and future in Arizona. 2020 was a down season for Jones that ended early on a biceps injury but he totaled 59 sacks and 2 All-Pro selections in the previous 3 seasons. Jones still has quality years left in his Hall of Fame career and should be on every team’s radar.

Buffalo Needs the Help

The Buffalo Bills should absolutely look into trading for Jones. Despite leading the league in defensive line spending, Buffalo has struggled to get to the quarterback in recent years. Jerry Hughes is still a top talent in pressuring the quarterback but his sack totals have dipped and his contract is up after this season. Mario Addison crashed down to earth in his first season in Buffalo and is overpaid on a contract that ends next offseason. The Bills have spent high picks on edge players A.J. Epenesa, Gregory Rousseau, and Carlos Basham in the past 2 drafts and the future is in their unproven hands right now. Adding a premier talent like Jones would give them a much more impressive outlook at the position. In order to unseat the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bills will need their front 4 to get Patrick Mahomes on the ground. Chandler Jones would be a Mario Williams level addition and could vault Buffalo past Kansas City.

What Would it Cost?

A second round pick is the expected return for a player of Jones’ caliber, age, and contract situation. To make the money and roster work, Mario Addison needs to be removed from the team. Cutting Addison only provides $2,127,941 in cap relief but trading him increases that number to $5,377,941. Addison could be packaged with Buffalo’s 2022 2nd round pick to help them fit the contract and give Arizona a lower cost option to fill the void left by Jones. With this move, the Bills would sit at just $242,051 over the cap which can be managed by extending Jones.

Extending Jones

Spotrac projects a fair value of 3 years $48,122,862 for an average of $16,040,954 per year. The Bills can offer this by converting his $15.5M base salary to a signing bonus and adding two years to spread out the hit. They could also add $10,160,000 as a true signing bonus to satisfy Jones with an even $25M in straight cash. For additional cap relief, they could jump on the trend of adding a void year to push some of the cap hit out to the 2024 season. Here is my projection of a fair contract that helps both Buffalo and Jones:

This gives Jones an additional 2 years of security while gaining $33,160,000 in new money with $24,160,000 of that guaranteed. The total contract value would be 3 years $48,660,000 with $39,660,000 in guarantees and a $25,000,000 instant cash value. Jones can compete for Super Bowls with Buffalo for 3 seasons and still cash in on another large contract at 34. The Bills would be left with $4,671,561 in 2021 cap space to stay flexible or carry over to next season. These manageable cap hits should not impact their ability to extend Josh Allen or Tremaine Edmunds. They will also still have room to potentially retain UFA’s Taron Johnson, Siran Neal, and Jerry Hughes.

Buffalo has a real shot at a Super Bowl with their current roster and adding Chandler Jones could push them to the top of Vegas odds. They would not sacrifice the long-term outlook of the roster either. If Jones can be had for this proposed price, there is no reason to shy away. Brandon Beane, the time is now.

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