BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said he was "shocked" that defensive end Chandler Jones was available in a trade from the New England Patriots and that he's confident the team will sign Jones to an extension before he becomes a free agent after the 2016 season.
"You don't get 26-year-old pass-rushers like him very often ... I think it could be pretty dynamic," Arians said at the NFC coaches breakfast at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. "We went into the offseason wanting to improve our pass rush, and free agency wasn't what we were looking at in terms of dollars for guys. [The Jones trade] cured us for a long time."
The Cardinals acquired Jones in exchange for guard Jonathan Cooper and a 2016 second-round draft choice on March 16. Arians, who called the trade good for both teams, said Cooper had a string of bad luck in Arizona with injuries and believes he "still has a good future." Arians relayed that the Patriots initiated the trade talks, and the deal came together within the span of a week.
In New England, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Jones was scheduled to earn $7.79 million in the final year of his contract. The Patriots, who have several core defenders with contracts expiring after the 2016 season, forecasted that it would have been difficult to re-sign him.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are already making Jones one of their top priorities, with Arians saying general manager Steve Keim and director of football administration Mike Disner have mapped out their salary cap plans over the next three or four years.
"When he hits free agency, we'll have the dollars to make sure he stays," Arians said.
As for Jones' reported bad reaction to synthetic marijuana that led to a hospital visit and negative headlines in January, Arians isn't concerned.
"Knowing the family and knowing what he did and [how] he owned up to it, it wasn't even a thought for me," he said. "I've seen 1,000 times worse than that in my years in this league. He's a really good kid from a good family."