Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chris Jones a perfect trade candidate

Chris Jones, potential option for the Buccaneers (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Chris Jones, potential option for the Buccaneers (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be in the market for a young interior defensive lineman and trading for Chris Jones is a viable option.

The Buccaneer run defense in 2019 was the best in the NFL and Tampa Bay will spend this offseason looking to replicate that success. If the Bucs can’t keep Ndamukong Suh on the roster or negotiations go south, the Bucs could trade for Super Bowl champion Chris Jones.

Chris Jones is a member of the surprisingly large group of successful players hailing from Mississippi State. Jones had decent production while in college but really came onto the scene after being drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Over four years in the NFL Jones has 33 sacks, 72 quarterback hits, and 37 tackles for loss, a pace that rivals that of Geno Atkins, Gerald McCoy, and Ndamukong Suh; three of the top interior defensive lineman of the past decade other than Aaron Donald.

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Concerning stats per NFL start, Jones has averaged more sacks, tackles for loss, and quarterback hits than all three of the previously mentioned players.

The Buccaneers have been lucky to have McCoy and Suh on their roster at different times but McCoy departed after the 2018 season and Suh could look elsewhere depending on his price.

Suh was an expensive free agent coming into the 2019 season and cost the Buccaneers just over nine million dollars for a year of play. Suh’s market may have expanded after his year on a dominant defensive line and could ask for more than the Bucs are willing to pay.

While many fans dispute the actual level of success that Suh experienced in 2019, the one thing that isn’t in question is his age. At 33 years old, it seems unlikely that anyone would sign Suh to a long term contract. Chris Jones is a completely different situation.

While the Bucs probably wouldn’t sign Suh to a long-term contract, Chris Jones is certainly the type of player that has a long-term contract in his future.

The Buccaneers would likely have to pay a decent amount to bring Jones to Tampa Bay but the trade would be worth it. Even if the Buccaneers had to pay a first-round pick in a trade for Jones, which would likely be overpaying, this trade would be worthwhile as it is for a proven player.

There are a number of talented defensive lineman in this upcoming draft but they are unproven in an NFL setting. The Bucs could spend several first rounds picks on defensive lineman and not find someone at Jones’ level.

Chris Jones has experience playing defensive end in a 3-4 as well as defensive tackle in a 4-3 and has found success at both showing that he is a good fit in Todd Bowles‘ fluid defense. Jones also has the size and the athleticism to pair up spectacularly with the current Buccaneer defense.

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The Buccaneers would likely have to pay more to keep Chris Jones on their roster for the future but the additional production that he brings makes the trade and eventual mega-contract worthwhile. Tampa Bay would then have Vita Vea and Chris Jones on their roster for years to come, keeping the dominant run defense firmly in place.