NFL PLAYER NEWS

Cards’ deal with DE Jones: five years, $83M

The Sports Xchange

March 10, 2017 at 8:01 am.

Sep 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) against New England Patriots offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (71) at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) against New England Patriots offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (71) at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Jones signed a five-year contract worth $83 million with the Arizona Cardinals, a long-term pact that removes the franchise tag assigned Jones on Feb. 27.

The deal guarantees Jones $53 million.

Jones was acquired from the New England Patriots prior to the 2016 season and was the team’s top priority in the offseason, head coach Bruce Arians said during the NFL Scouting Combine last week.

Terms of the deal were not immediately available, but Jones is expected to strike it rich. The deal is likely to make Jones one of the highest-paid defensive players in NFL and should be finalized before the official start of free agency at 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

The top pass rushers scheduled for free agency the past two offseasons were rewarded handsomely with long-term deals. In 2015, the Kansas City Chiefs used the tag as a placeholder to retain outside linebacker Justin Houston, then signed him to a six-year, $101.5 million deal.

Last March, Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller was tagged, only to sign a record six-year, $114.5 million deal with $70 million guaranteed.

Jones, tagged on his 27th birthday, is the same age as Miller.

In his first season with the Cardinals, Jones started all 16 games at linebacker and had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss and was a Pro Bowl alternate. Over the past two seasons, Jones has 23.5 sacks, the third most in the NFL in that span. Dating back to his second NFL season in 2013, his 13 multi-sack games are tied for the second-most in the NFL.