Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones confirmed to the media that he requested a trade this offseason in the midst of contract frustration.
Jones, 31, is in the final year of his deal and wanted to sign an extension this summer. An agreement did not get done, prompting the two-time All-Pro first teamer to try and play elsewhere.
He did not get into specifics about the negotiations or the request.
However, a trade was not made, and Jones did not hold back in his first game on Sunday, securing five sacks and two forced fumbles in Arizona's 38-13 win over the Titans.
On the sideline, Jones was caught on camera tapping the pockets of general manager Steve Keim.
"He knows what that means," Jones said with a smile after practice Wednesday.
Jones was asked if he saw dollar signs in the air following all of those sacks, and he winked as he responded by saying he was just happy to get the ball back for the offense.
He did not participate in OTAs or minicamp during the summer, but he arrived on time and ready to work at training camp.
"In this situation here, I think it's advantageous for me to show up," Jones said. "I wasn't at minicamp, I wasn't at OTAs. But when it comes to the season, I think doing your job is essential. Putting the team first, ignore the noise and, like I said previously, just managing expectations."
Even during the offseason, Jones was not separated from his teammates.
Running back Chase Edmonds said on Tuesday that he worked out with a bunch of other Cardinals in preparation for the 2021 season, and Jones was "busting his tail off."
Several Cardinals showed their support of Jones during press conferences over the summer, and multiple players joined him when he celebrated with a "make-it-rain" dance after a sack on Sunday.
The players voted him as a team captain last week.
"He's been tremendous," head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "I know he wants more money and is probably deserving of it and it's part of the business, but the way he's handled himself and the way he treats his teammates and his coaches has just been phenomenal."
Jones said on Wednesday he thinks he plays better when he does not think about the contract, letting it go to focus on the task at hand.
He mentioned he had a feeling last Sunday would go well.
"When the season starts, I even tell my agent, 'Let's put all that aside. You take care of that. If you want to talk about it, you talk about it.' As far as for me, I'm going to play and I want to play my best football and we'll see what happens then," Jones said.
But, when he steps off of the field, there are still questions on his mind. He alluded to the fact that he does not know where he will live next year after spending five-plus years in the Valley.
Jones also had to work his way back after suffering a season-ending biceps tear in Week 5 of last season. It's possible this was another roadblock in his extension talks, with Cardinals management perhaps wanting to see him healthy again.
Jones also used the injury as motivation, focusing on film study and transitioning his rehab into full offseason training.
On Wednesday, quarterback Kyler Murray joked that Jones is an unorthodox player and may not look great without a shirt on, but that he's a savant pass rusher.
Jones displayed that in Week 1, beating the Titans two left tackles by outsmarting them and by shear speed and strength.
"He's an expert at rushing the passer," Murray said. "So glad he's on my team. He doesn't surprise me with it."
Safety Budda Baker added on Sunday: "He's a technician. He's a professional when it comes to pass rushing. He has that down. He knows what to do. To see that today definitely brought a smile to my face."
Jones wants to let his play talk for him, but he does not have any specific milestone goals. He did last year, but the season did not go as planned.
The pass rusher said he wants to be consistent and better than he was last season.
He made a loud statement in his first game and won NFC Defensive Player of the Week. The reality is he's only two seasons removed from being the league's runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year.