Chandler Jones: What’s the free agent market looking like for the veteran pass rusher?

Chandler Jones has not yet agreed to terms on the second day of the legal tampering period, but there is some chatter about his next team.

Chandler Jones has not yet agreed to terms with any team on the second day of the NFL legal tampering period heading into the official start of free agency. However, there have been plenty of rumors regarding his next landing spot, and new information obtained by Pro Football Network leads to a team in the AFC East.

Which team has entered the mix for Chandler Jones?

Earlier this week, PFN Insider Aaron Wilson reported that the Denver Broncos had an interest in bringing Jones to Colorado. However, with the news that they have agreed to terms with Randy Gregory, that no longer seems to be a viable option.

But now, PFN Insider Tony Pauline reports that the New York Jets have jumped into the mix for Jones, the sixth-ranked overall free agent on Pro Football Network’s Top 100 Free Agents list.

Pauline reports that the team’s offseason plan included adding a pass rusher in free agency. While Za’Darius Smith was linked to the Jets, especially by some at the NFL Scouting Combine, New York has not shown much interest to date in the former member of the Green Bay Packers.

The Jets certainly have the cap space to make this happen, with nearly $50 million in available money heading into the legal tampering period. A four-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time All-Pro, Spotrac places Jones’ market value at around $14.5 million on a three-year deal. However, sources tell Wilson that he could make as much as $20 million annually.

If not the Jets, what teams make sense for the Jones?

Jones is an intriguing player because of his ability to be a true difference-maker in any game. He demonstrated that with 5 sacks in Week 1 of the 2021 season. Yet, he added just 5.5 sacks in the next 14 games he played. But some of that can be attributed to the attention a premier pass rusher like Jones attracts from opposing linemen — especially after J.J. Watt went down with injury.

Jones fits best into a 3-4 scheme, which somewhat limits the options in terms of potential landing spots. However, a number of teams have the mix of cap space, scheme fit, and situation that could consider adding Jones this offseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are in an interesting situation all around. They drafted Trevor Lawrence last year and will have a new head coach in Week 1 for the second consecutive season. From what we saw in 2021, they are a long way from contending. But with Doug Pederson at the helm and a young QB on a rookie deal, the Jaguars could easily use this offseason to go all-in.

Jacksonville entered the offseason with $40 million in cap space and the opportunity to make several upgrades — and they have done just that, agreeing to pay more than $100 million in guaranteed money on the first day of the legal tampering period.

Jones would make for a fantastic pass-rush rotation with Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson. However, with two young and talented pass rushers, we may see the Jaguars focus their attention elsewhere than adding more players off the edge.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills have also been reported as being in the market for Jones this offseason. They have Jerry Hughes as an unrestricted free agent and may want a veteran pass rusher to replace him. Nevertheless, they have high draft picks on their roster in Gregory Rousseau, A.J. Epenesa, and Carlos Basham.

Therefore, with relatively limited cap space available, they may not be able to compete financially with some of the offers on the table from teams more flush with cap space.

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