OLB Chandler Jones 'A Big Part' in DL Jordan Phillips Signing

Mason Kern

Before the new NFL league year started and he entered free agency, former Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Jordan Phillips shared a message to the city that helped surge his career forward.

"Before this madness starts I just want to say thank you to (defensive coordinator Leslie) (Frazier), (general manager) (Brandon) Beane, and the best teammates/family I could ask for," Phillips posted on Twitter. "You guys gave me a chance to finally show the league what I can do. I am forever grateful. Last but not least the whole bills mafia nation THANK YOU!"

At that point, Phillips did not know what was in store. His breakout year in Buffalo led to a nice contract. He agreed to terms on a reported four-year, $40 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals with $18.5 million guaranteed and an $8 million signing bonus.

It was not just the monetary incentives that made Arizona stand out, though. 

"Arizona was somewhere that I knew if it didn't work out with Buffalo, Arizona would be the place to be," Phillips said in a videoconference with reporters on Monday. "They're a young, talented team, kind of how Buffalo was a couple years ago. They have a young quarterback, rising star (Kyler Murray). And also, (outside linebacker) Chandler Jones was a big, big part of it as well. I wanted an elite pass rusher next to me so we could try and cause some havoc. 

"Also, (defensive coordinator) Vance Joseph; had him in Miami and (defensive line) coach Buck (Brentson Buckner) was another big part. I really wanted to play for him. I've heard great things about him. So those are really my two or three biggest things."

Having the opportunity to play with Jones and in the Cardinals' system was too much to pass up, even despite three other suitors (according to Phillips).

"Selfishly, it's going to take double teams away from me and help me get free," he said. "Also, when you have somebody like that who's averaged over 15 sacks for the last few years, so all (of the) focus is on him and I just get to do my thing, but also get to open up lanes for him so he can go do his thing. And hopefully we can be a dynamic tandem."

While the formations will look different in Arizona, Phillips is confident that he will get adjusted quickly. He has strong goals as well.

"It's the same kind of attack front what I've been playing," he said. "It's going to be a little different playing in a 3-4. Not really sure where I'm going to play yet. But it's the same kind of attack front. You're doing the same things. They're getting after the person in front of them and they're rushing the passer and those are the things that I do well.

"(I just want) to show everybody that (2019) wasn't a one-year thing (with 9.5 sacks). I was made for this. I was built for this. And just to let everybody in Arizona know that they got the real deal. And the defense is going to get back to where it needs to be."