TEMPE, Ariz. -- Now that the Arizona Cardinals have their pass-rusher of the future, they don't plan on letting him leave after just one season.
Coach Bruce Arians said at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday that the team will have the financial infrastructure in place after 2016 to re-sign outside linebacker Chandler Jones to a contract that's fit for one of the NFL's top pass-rushers.
"When he hits free agency, we'll have the dollars to make sure he stays," Arians said.
By trading for Jones last week, the Cardinals inherited his $7.79 million salary for 2016. Depending on the type of season Jones turns in this season, he could command upward of the $17 million per year that defensive end Olivier Vernon received from the New York Giants in free agency earlier this month.
Arians understood all along that Jones will be expensive.
"That's cool because he's earned it," Arians said. "We know the price tag of those guys. If you ain't got one, you're begging for one.
"If he does what he's supposed to do, we should have the cap space for it, which was all projected going into the trade."
Arians said general manager Steve Keim and director of football administration Mike Disner have the Cardinals' projected cap planned out for the next three to four years, which allows the team to plan on having the room to secure a big-ticket player like Jones.
Three Cardinals players with the highest cap numbers will be entering the final seasons of their contracts.
Finding a pass-rusher was the Cardinals' primary concern heading into free agency, but the type of money being commanded this year didn't interest Arizona, Arians said. When the Jones trade became available, Arizona saw an opportunity fill a need at the right price.
"We think we got a dynamic edge rusher," Arians said.