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Bill Belichick’s parting gift for Chandler Jones? Not trading him ‘to a crappy team’ 08.10.16 at 10:15 pm ET
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Chandler Jones thanked Bill Belichick for not trading him "to a crappy team." (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Chandler Jones thanked Bill Belichick for not trading him “to a crappy team.” (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

If there was one upside for Chandler Jones in getting traded from the Patriots, it was where he ended up.

Jones told USA TODAY on Wednesday that when he found out he’d been dealt to Arizona, he called Bill Belichick and told him thank you for trading him to a contender like the Cardinals.

“I didn’t get a chance to speak to him (the day of the trade) – he was on a flight or something,” Jones told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “But I called him the next day and said, ‘Hey, you could’ve traded me to any other team, so thank you for not trading me to a crappy team.’”

Jones said he was fully aware of the situation. Heading into the final year of his rookie contract — and with Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, Jabaal Sheard and Malcolm Butler all coming to the end of their deals sooner rather than later — he wasn’t all that surprised.

“They’re not known for really paying guys over there,” Jones said of the Patriots. “There were rumors going around that I might be traded, but you never really read too much into rumors. When it happened, it was just a tad shocking. But I packed my bags and moved on.”

In that same vein, the 6-foot-5, 247-pounder is aware of what’s at stake for him in 2016.

“Back of my head, yes, it’s my contract year, it’s my fifth season, on my fifth-year exercised option,” said Jones, who had a career-high 12.5 sacks last year. “But I feel like if you get too much into that, that’s when you start worrying about, ‘Oh, I need this many sacks, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that.’

“I really don’t have a lot of personal goals. I’m going to approach this year like another year, trying to do better, trying to be a better Chandler Jones, and I’ll let everything else take care of itself.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill Belichick, chandler jones,
New teammates believe ex-Patriots DE Chandler Jones can reach 20-sack plateau in 2016 08.01.16 at 11:06 am ET
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His new teammates think Chandler Jones can reach 20 sacks in Arizona in 2016. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

His new teammates think Chandler Jones can reach 20 sacks in Arizona in 2016. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Chandler Jones’ new teammates have set a high bar for the former Patriots’ defensive end.

Jones, dealt by New England to Arizona in the offseason, has the potential for a 20-sack season in 2016, according to Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Tyrann Mathieu.

“There’s no doubt about it,” Peterson told the Arizona Republic. “He has that potential to be a 20-plus sack guy. … He’s in a contract year, too, so I know he’s going to be even that much hungrier.”

“In this division, yeah, he can get 20 sacks,” Mathieu said. “In this division, they rely on their quarterbacks to make plays – i.e. San Francisco and Seattle. I just figure it like this: If (Dwight) Freeney had eight sacks in a backup role, Chandler should probably get 20 in a starting role.”

The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Jones was taken in the first round of the 2012 draft by the Patriots, and had 36 sacks in four seasons in New England, including a career-high 12.5 last year. He was traded by the Patriots to Arizona in the offseason.

For his part, Jones isn’t going on record with a prediction.

“Honestly, I never try to think about that,” Jones said when asked about reaching the 20-sack plateau. “Maybe at midseason I’ll look at the stats, but I never go out to get a certain number. Hopefully, I do better than last year but I never go out each game and say, ‘Hey, I want this many sacks in this game’ or ‘I’m trying to get this many sacks.’

“Honestly, I wish I could sack the quarterback every time they drop back. But it’s not that easy.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: chandler jones, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu,
Chandler Jones: It wasn’t shocking to be traded by Patriots 06.08.16 at 3:21 pm ET
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Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

It seems like Chandler Jones had an idea it was coming.

With the number of free agents the Patriots have upcoming following this season, they likely will not be able to keep them all.

So, instead of potentially not re-signing Jones after this season and not getting anything back, the Patriots traded Jones to the Cardinals for a second-round pick and guard Jonathan Cooper earlier this offseason.

On Sirius XM NFL radio Wednesday, Jones admitted he wasn’t surprised when he learned he was dealt.

“There were a lot of rumors out,” Jones said. “I try to stay away from the media, but I heard rumors. Like I said, it wasn’t as shocking when I found out I was traded, but there were definitely rumors.”

It won’t be long before Jones plays his former team as the Patriots will travel to Arizona for the season opener on Sept. 11. Jones is already looking forward to the matchup.

“When I first found that out, that they were going to be on our schedule, I said that I was going to circle that game red, with a red marker,” Jones said. “It’s Week 1, so that’s even better. The NFL already contacted me and told me I’ll probably be mic’d up for that game, so that’ll be a fun game to listen to.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: chandler jones,
Chris Long on working with Patriots: ‘I love the way we go about business’ 05.27.16 at 10:09 am ET
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FOXBORO — Chris Long sounds like a guy who’s really ready to re-start his career in New England.

The 31-year-old defensive end signed a one-year, $2 million deal in New England in March after spending his first eight NFL seasons with the Rams.

Long finished his first week of OTAs with his new team on Thursday in the heat on the grass fields outside Gillette Stadium. And while this time of the offseason is usually centered around learning, the competitor in Long knows he definitely has something to prove to his new employer and teammates.

“I love the way we go about business,” Long said. “I love getting out here and competing. It was a competitive couple of days. I have lot to worry about to get to the point where I can do my job the way I want to do it here. There’s a lot of learning for me. I’m excited to learn and pick it up. You’ve just got to be a sponge.”

Long is trying to regain the form he showed earlier in his career with the Rams that made him one of the most effective defensive ends in football. In 2011, the Virginia product had a career-best 13 sacks. The next season he had 11.5. He’s played just 18 games in the last two seasons, racking up four sacks and 24 tackles.

“Great thing about that is that’s yesterday. It’s in the past,” Long added. “I’m out here with a great attitude every day, trying to get better and every day you try to re-prove yourself. As a player, you should come out every day trying to re-prove yourself and that’s all I try to do every day. New situation, old situation, whatever, it’s just one day at a time for me.

“I came in with no expectations either way. I’m just here to do my job and do what I’m asked to do. Whatever the coaches want me to do, wherever I line up, I didn’t have any expectations. I just want to come in here and compete and help this team. It was awesome. It was a great day to get to work. We had a great week. I’m excited to look at the film and see how we can get better after three days. It was really fun to be out here, playing football, and competing.”

Long was part of an offseason defensive re-boot for the Patriots, as he figures to slot in and help take the reps of Chandler Jones, who was traded to Arizona. He was out on the field this week, along with fellow veteran newcomers Terrance Knighton, Shea McClellin and E.J. Biggers.

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Read More: chandler jones, Chris Long, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots
Iron Man: Rob Ninkovich looks to continue impressive run of durability at defensive end 05.20.16 at 1:46 pm ET
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Rob Ninkovich meets the media Thursday at Gillette. (WEEI.com photo)

Rob Ninkovich meets the media Thursday at Gillette. (WEEI.com photo)

FOXBORO — Rob Ninkovich isn’t an overly superstitious guy, but when he was asked Thursday about his consecutive games played streak, he shot a mock-serious look at a reporter.

“Let’s not talk about that,” said the 32-year-old defensive end, who is set to start his 11th year in the league — and eighth with the Patriots — this fall.

Sorry, Rob. It’s gotten to a point where it can’t be ignored anymore: The 6-foot-3, 251-pounder, who has been with the Patriots since 2009, has now racked up 81 straight regular-season starts with New England, second-best in the league among all defensive ends. And he’s played in a total of 102 straight regular-season games with the Patriots, third-best in the league at his position. (Julius Peppers is tops in both categories with 128 straight games played and 102 consecutive starts.)

He acknowledges he’s probably a little fresher than most defensive ends because he didn’t play much at all in his first three years in the league — he played in a total of eight games with the Dolphins and Saints before signing with the Patriots in 2009. That’s why he said he subtracts three years from his career.

But the streak remains a point of pride.

“I like knowing that I can continue to contribute and help the team,” said Ninkovich, who has 42 career sacks, including 14.5 the last two years. “I do understand the business aspect of the game, so that’s exactly what I have to do: I have to help the team, contribute to win, and if I can continue to do that I’ll stay on the field.

“Other than that, I think that there’s a little bit of luck involved with that, because the first three years I couldn’t stay on the field,” he said of the streak. “Let’s just continue to work hard. I feel really good right now and just look forward to year 11.”

Ninkovich has been around long enough to know he’s not surprised when there’s roster movement. That includes the franchise decision to ship fellow pass-rushing defensive end Chandler Jones off to Arizona for offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper and a draft pick. Ninkovich and Jones had been teammates for four seasons, and on Thursday, Ninkovich called Jones “a really good football player.” But he seems enthused about the arrival of veteran free agent Chris Long.

“Chris is a great guy. He’s excited to be here and to just jump into the Patriot way. I know previous location was tough for him, so I just said to him, ‘Hey man, you come here and get to work and we’ll start winning football games.’

“Since then we’ve kind of hit it off. He’s a great guy,” added Ninkovich. “He’s definitely been great so far. It’s fun when you can learn from other guys, other pros. He’s been doing it a long time as well and he’s happy to be here so we’re happy to have him.”

Read More: chandler jones, Chris Long, Rob Ninkovich,
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians: Patriots initiated Chandler Jones trade 03.23.16 at 11:47 am ET
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Cardinals coach Bruce Arians had a lot of positive things to say about Chandler Jones. (Max Baer/USA Today Sports)

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians had a lot of positive things to say about Chandler Jones. (Max Baer/USA Today Sports)

Although it doesn’t come as much of a surprise, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday the Patriots were the ones who started the talks for the Chandler Jones trade.

Jones was traded to Arizona for guard Jonathan Cooper and the Cardinals’ second-round pick in next months draft. With the Patriots having a number of younger players — including Jones — with their rookie contracts expiring at the end of next season, it would be nearly impossible for the Patriots to sign them all.

“I was shocked,” Arians told reporters at the NFC coaches breakfast in Florida on Wednesday morning. “[General manager] Steve Keim did an unbelievable job working with them and finding the right fit in the trade. We went into the offseason wanting to improve our pass rush. Free agency wasn’t what we were looking at as far as dollars for certain guys. That cured us for a long time. They got something they needed. We got something we needed. I think it was a great trade for both sides.”

“I think Steve got a call, and they gradually started talking and things built and built and built,” he added.

Jones has totaled 36 sacks in his four years in the league, including a career-high 12.5 last season. Arians is excited to see what Jones can do for the Arizona defense, which was badly in need of a pass rusher.

“You don’t get 26-year-old pass-rushers like him very often … I think it could be pretty dynamic,” Arians said. “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 trade] cured us for a long time.”

As for Jones’ incident before the playoffs with synthetic marijuana, he doesn’t see it being an issue.

“Knowing the family and knowing what he did and [how] he owned up to it, it wasn’t even a thought for me,” Arians 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.”

Read More: Bruce Arians, chandler jones,
Jonathan Kraft defends Tom Brady’s negative perception following Deflategate: ‘He doesn’t deserve it’ 03.22.16 at 8:24 pm ET
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Jonathan Kraft defended Tom Brady on Tuesday. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Jonathan Kraft defended Tom Brady on Tuesday. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

It isn’t just the loss of the two draft picks that the Kraft family is upset with Roger Goodell about following Deflategate.

They also also upset with the damage it has caused to the perception of quarterback Tom Brady.

Patriots president Jonathan Kraft went into detail on that with CSNNE.com’s Tom E. Curran on Tuesday’s episode of Quick Slants from the NFL owners meetings in Florida.

“Tom Brady is the poster child for everything that is right,” Kraft said to Curran. “Not just with the NFL, but with professional sports in general and why we wouldn’t be looking to be putting somebody like him on a platform and effectively showcase him as everything that is great about a professional athlete. Both in terms of his work ethic, his discipline on the field, how he is as a father, as a husband and what he does in the community. He is everything that is great about the NFL and professional sports and to see what has happened to him, at least for me personally, as somebody is fortunate enough to know him and have him as a friend, that is probably even more disheartening to me because he doesn’t deserve it.

“And you throw the first-round pick into it, it gets very frustrating and very angry and disappointing, but at some point you have to realize, you have to turn the energy and attention towards things that will be productive. The league meetings start really the 2016 season and for us, we have to go out and have a very successful year.”

Deflategate aside, Kraft said he’s excited to get back to playing games on the field. He also discussed the recent offseason acquisitions and also hinted why the Patriots traded Chandler Jones.

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Read More: chandler jones, Deflategate, Jonathan Kraft, Tom Brady
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