Two Super Bowl hopefuls have swung a fascinating trade.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Cardinals have shipped offensive guard Jonathan Cooper and a 2016 second-round pick to New England in exchange for Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, per two sources involved in the deal. The Cardinals later confirmed the trade and stated the deal is contingent on both players passing physicals.
The swap fills a need for both teams.
The Cardinals nab a much-desired pass-rusher in Jones, who notched 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles during his fourth NFL campaign. His 36 takedowns over 52 starts give Arizona the type of pocket disruptor the Cardinals have missed for years. Jones was hospitalized in January for a bad reaction with synthetic marijuana, but the 2012 first-rounder leaves New England having proven his worth.
In Cooper, the Patriots land a young interior blocker with 24 starts over two seasons. Graded by Pro Football Focus as the league's 50th-ranked guard in 2015, Cooper -- the seventh player picked in the 2013 NFL Draft -- has yet to live up to his pedigree. The former North Carolina standout played on both the left and right side last autumn before losing his starting job to Ted Larsen midway through the campaign.
New England wouldn't make this trade unless Cooper has a chance to unseat Shaq Mason or Josh Kline along a shaky interior line. More importantly, though, New England lands an additional second-round selection, making up for the Patriots going without a pick in the first.