We’ve written extensively about how Baltimore Ravens players Tyus Bowser, Jaylon Ferguson, Odafe Oweh, and others could fill in as edge rushers for 2021.
The Ravens could look at the middling pass-rushing talent on their roster right now and think, “It’s going to be okay.” Or they could pursue Chandler Jones and solidify their defense for real.
Ever since Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported on Sunday that Jones requested a trade from the Arizona Cardinals, the good ol’ rumor mill has been a-churning.
At 31, Jones is well past his prime, and he’s coming off one of his most challenging seasons in 2020 in which he injured his bicep.
Other than those few snags, Jones would be a great fit with any NFL team in dire need of a star pass rusher. Of them all, the Ravens should be at the top of that list (assuming they can make the financials work).
Brad Spielberger and Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus recently voiced their opinions on potential landing spots for Jones and listed the Ravens as a prime choice.
“The Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens immediately come to mind even after using first-round selections on edge defenders. Both clubs are entering the final rookie-contract year for their respective franchise quarterbacks in Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson and could solidify Super Bowl-caliber rosters with a splash for Jones.”
“Super Bowl-caliber roster” definitely has a nice ring to it, but the Ravens may not be the top-five defense they were last season and should pursue Jones for assurance.
Jones’ addition would take a huge load off the rookies (Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes) and allow them to adapt to the league at their own speed.
With Jones by his side, Bowser just needs to be good, not extraordinary, this season; Ferguson still needs to live up to his potential regardless of whether the trade happens.s
But don’t even try to compare Jones’ production value to that of the Ravens’ pass rushers — he blows them all out of the water.
Since turning pro in 2012, Jones has earned the title of being the league’s most decorated sack artist, ranked No. 1 with 97 career sacks.
He spent time in New England but really exploded in Arizona when he was named first-team All-Pro in 2017 and 2019 after logging a whopping 17 and 19 sacks respectively.
The Baltimore Ravens need to seriously consider trading for Chandler Jones.
Before the praise can go on, though, the elephant in the room must be addressed — money. Brining on Jones, who is due $15.5 million in base salary, currently isn’t affordable since the Ravens have less than $9 million in cap space and still have to extend Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews, among others.
But if Eric DeCosta and the front office can get their financials in order, there are plenty of reasons this could be the Ravens’ best offseason trade of 2021.
Arizona picked up two young and promising pass rushers in the last two NFL Drafts and could be looking to move on from the aging and recently injured Jones.
After watching their two premier edge rushers leave this offseason, the Ravens can’t let this golden opportunity pass without at least exploring the trade options.
They already have Patrick Queen and an impassable linebacker unit. They already have an elite secondary headed by Marlon Humphrey (who, along with Jackson, have begun recruiting Jones). They already have Don Martindale on the sidelines, clipboard in hand, prepared to blitz the opposition at any moment.
All the defensive pieces are in play for the Ravens to enjoy their most successful season yet…except for one.
Pursuing Chandler Jones needs to be Baltimore’s top priority in the coming weeks, and the Ravens should ward off the competition with a flaming torch.
Jones is the sack-infused, confidence-soaked, Super Bowl-guaranteed cherry on top of the Ravens’ defense, and if they can nab him, victory will never taste sweeter.