NFL

The Arizona Cardinals Just Lost Their $82 Million Star

Chandler Jones has been one of the most dominant pass rushers in the NFL for close to a decade, but he’ll be watching the rest of the 2020 season from the sidelines.

Jones suffered a biceps injury last Sunday against the New York Jets, and he’ll undergo season-ending surgery this week. The linebacker is the veteran leader on the Arizona Cardinals‘ defense, so they’ll be forced to rely on unproven players the rest of the way.

Chandler Jones injured his biceps against the Jets

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Jones has been one of the most prolific sack artists in the NFL in recent years. He’s recorded 10 or more sacks in six of the last seven seasons, and he had a career-high 19 last year.

Jones led the NFL in sacks in 2017 with 17. His 28 tackles for loss were also the most in the league. He was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2017 and again in 2019. Jones has earned every bit of his five-year $82.5 million contract with the Cardinals so far, but he just suffered a major setback in year four.

During Sunday’s game against the Jets, Jones suffered a biceps injury and came back onto the field with his right arm in a sling. It was later revealed Jones tore his biceps and will need season-ending surgery.

Jones is out for the season after needing biceps surgery

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After his torn biceps was confirmed, Jones will need season-ending surgery to repair the muscle. Cardinals’ head coach Kliff Kingsbury knows how big of a blow the loss is, and he had some encouraging words about the star linebacker.

“He’s a tremendous player, as we all know. Great person. Great leader on this team, so it’s not going to be easy,” Kingsbury told ESPN. “We have some guys that have seen playing time this year and will continue to play and get more. So, it’ll be a rotation of guys that we’ve seen out there, which we’ll just see out there more.”

Jones will be impossible to replace along the defensive front in Arizona, but his loss opens the door for some young players to get some valuable snaps early in their careers.

The Cardinals will rely on unproven defensive players to replace Jones

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It’s tough to find a silver lining in Jones going down for the season, but the Cardinals will get a great look at some young defenders in his absence — most notably, Isaiah Simmons.

The Cardinals drafted Simmons with the No. 4 overall pick over the summer, and they think he can be a Pro Bowler for years to come. Simmons hasn’t gotten much playing time behind Jones, but now he should be on the field for most of the snaps at outside linebacker.

Arizona fans would rather have Jones on the field every Sunday, but getting Simmons more snaps in his rookie season could prove to be a diamond in the rough.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference