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TEMPE, Ariz. Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher Chandler Jones did not think about the potential economic downturn during his five-sack performance on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, which started the final season of his contract.
Or was he?
“I was thinking more about getting the ball, then [quarterback] Cooler [Murray] can score another touchdown, to be honest with you, “Jones said of his fourth sack.
Then Jones blinked, which said it all.
It’s the final chapter to the start of the ninth NFL season for the 31-year-old, who sat out OTAs and minicamp over the summer in protest of wanting either an extension or a new deal. He said Wednesday he had requested a deal, but referred all questions about the request to general manager Steve Keim and his agents, Joe Panos and Ethan Lock.
Jones, who is set to earn $ 15.5 million this season, said he will let his agents handle the business side of his career while playing.
“I just play football, honestly,” Jones said. “I just let my agent take care of it – the contract situation – but it’s the last year of my contract, and I just let it take care of itself.”
Jones, who leads the NFL in sacks since joining the league in 2012, said it was “beneficial” for him not to persevere or hold on during training camp.
“When it comes to the season, I think it’s important to do his job, put the team first, ignore the noise and just manage the expectations,” Jones said.
Jones, who had 19 sacks in 2019, sustained a season-ending biceps injury in Week 5 last season and recorded only one sack. Starting with five sacks on Sunday, Jones is in a good position to make another race on the season record for a season (22.5), which was set by Michael Strahan in 2001.
“My goal is to do better than the previous year,” Jones said when asked about the record. “So whatever it is, hopefully I can just do better than I did last year, just by being consistent.”
With free agency threatening, Jones is now trying to block his contract situation as best he can.
“I think I played best when I was not thinking about the deal or the contract,” Jones said. “Is that something I mean? [I think about] off the field? Yes, I mean of course. I do not know where I will live next year. But in the same situation, I think when the season starts, I say to my agent, let’s put all that aside, you have to be careful.
“If you want to talk about it, you talk about it. As for me, I have to play, and I have to play my best football, and we’ll see what happens next.”