The Arizona Cardinals just pulled off a blockbuster trade, acquiring pass rusher Chandler Jones from the Patriots in exchange for their 2nd round pick and guard Jonathan Cooper. It gives the Cardinals one of the league's top pass rushers (12.5 sacks in 2015), but could it also cause them to lose one of their other key free agent players? Let's take a look.
The primary free agent player in question here is Tony Jefferson who was a restricted free agent on whom the team placed an original round tender. Since Jefferson was undrafted out of Oklahoma, if he should be signed away by another team, the Cardinals would receive no draft pick compensation. Their only play would be to try and match whatever offer was given to Jefferson, which they would have five days to do should an offer be made.
Prior to the acquisition of Jones, the Cardinals were sitting at about $15 million. Jones' nearly $8 million cuts that figure in half, leaving the team with somewhere near $7.5 million in cap space.
Should a team such as the Raiders, who have reportedly looked into trying to sign Jefferson, make one of their frontloaded deals which would offer Jefferson more than the $7.5 million in his first year, it could make it difficult for the Cardinals to match it.
I suppose the question then becomes is Jefferson worth any deal that would have that much money up front? That would be for the Raiders as well as the Cardinals to decide.
He has started 15 games over the past two seasons for the Cardinals, averaging just under 80 tackles per season. He is a strong safety by trade, which is what the Raiders need. It could be worth a shot.
Based on the deal the Raiders gave Nate Allen last year, it's clear they are willing to put up a bit of coin for a somewhat unproven safety. Allen had a $6.9 million salary in his first year with Raiders last season. A year later, and with the Raiders still sitting at nearly $30 million in cap space, tossing on a few extra k to Jefferson in his first year doesn't seem out of the question.