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Chandler Jones: I want to go to a place that maximizes my talents

Mike Florio and Peter King get ready for free agency by debating which defensive free agent is most deserving of a bidding war and discussing how cap space will play into free agency this year.

Chandler Jones is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career next week.

After starting his career with the Patriots, the edge rusher was traded to the Cardinals back in 2016. Then after the club placed the franchise tag on him in 2017 to prevent him from hitting the open market, he signed a five-year deal that’s about to expire.

Jones was selected to his fourth career Pro Bowl in 2021 after recording 10.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 26 QB hits, and six forced fumbles for Arizona.

Jones just turned 32 last month and appears to have plenty left in the tank as he hits the open market. But in an appearance on “The NFL Players Podcast” with former his former teammate Logan Ryan, Jones said he’s not just looking for the highest bidder.

“To be completely honest, it’s not about money at all,” Jones said, via Darren Urban of the Cardinals’ website. “Where I am in my career, I’ve gotten contracts, I’ve gotten the Super Bowl, but I think scheme is huge. Or for me, winning more championships. I’ll say it again, it’s not about money. I will say I want to go to a place that maximizes my talents. There have been times in my career where I’d say I caught myself out of position. I do take the blame, but at the same time it’s like, ‘Hey, should I have been doing that?’ I have enough comfort where I am in my career and this age to say that.”

Jones noted that he flashed at certain points last season — like Week One where he had 5.0 sacks against the Titans. But he didn’t sustain that level of production, which may or may not have had something to do with the scheme.

“There are a lot of different things I have to think about,” Jones said. “This is a time I can really focus on myself and what fits for me. Being a free agent, in my 10, 11 years of playing, I’ve never had the opportunity to pick what scheme I wanted to be in or what kind of defense. I’ve always [had it] handed to me. Not complaining, but I was drafted to the Patriots, and then I was traded to the Arizona Cardinals.

“While I was on the Cardinals I had about three defensive coordinators, a lot of different defensive coaches, and I never had the opportunity to actually say, ‘Hey, this is what I want to do.’ I get to pick what scheme I’m going to be in, and that will be huge in my decision.”

A first-round pick in the 2012 draft, Jones is second among active players with 107.5 sacks. Von Miller — also slated to become a free agent next week — leads active players with 115.5.