During the last four years, linebacker Chandler Jones has collected $67 million from the Cardinals after signing a five-year contract worth $82.5 million in 2017.
But now, with the 2021 season remaining on that deal at a scheduled non-guaranteed salary of $15.5 million, Jones is apparently staying away from the team’s offseason workouts and mandatory minicamp because he wants a contract extension.
At Tuesday’s first day of minicamp, 88 players were present. Also missing were linebackers Jordan Hicks, who was given permission to seek a trade partner last month, and Dennis Gardeck, who is rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jones played in only five games last season after suffering a torn biceps in Week 5 against the New York Jets. In those games, he had one sack to go with 11 tackles, one tackle for loss and seven quarterback hits.
That disappointing season came after being runner-up as NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 when he was second in the league with 19.0 sacks.
It is noteworthy that Jones is in town and was present Monday for a photoshoot with defensive end J.J. Watt that the Cardinals populated on social media.
When head coach Kliff Kingsbury was asked if Jones and Hicks could be fined or whether there was “an understanding” with them, he said, “Like we said last week, nothing new to report there. We've been in communication with both guys. We know the situations and so I'll leave that dialogue between us.”
Kingsbury was then asked if he expects either player to be on the field for either of the next two days of minicamp. He said curtly, “I don’t; no.”
Meanwhile, tackle D.J. Humphries and safety Budda Baker talked as if they know the “situation” is related to Jones’ contract.
“Business is business,” Humphries said. “You let that sort of stuff work itself out. Guys got to have focus on what you can control. Let guys handle their business. He'll be back when everything is sorted out.”
Baker became adept with coach-speak when asked if the absence of one of the team’s leaders could be a distraction.
He said, “For us, it's not a distraction at all. This is (the) NFL business league. We support Chan and whatever he's doing. And when we see him, we'll see him. So for us, we're just all worried about who's here right now in the present and just trying to take it day by day with the guys we have.”