Jones thankful Pats didn't trade him to 'crappy team'

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Bill Belichick has a heart, or so says Chandler Jones.

The ascendant defensive end made waves for the Patriots during his first four seasons, but was unceremoniously jettisoned off of Kraft Island during the offseason. On the first day of free agency, New England traded Jones to the Cardinals for guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick.

Despite the shocking move, Jones wasn't offended. After all, he could've ended up somewhere much worse than Phoenix.

"I didn't get a chance to speak to (Belichick) (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.'"

Most surprising -- and possibly unsettling -- of all, Jones added that when he thanked his former coach, Belichick "laughed". To be a fly on the phone ...

Jones could not have landed with a better or more fitting organization. The pass rusher moved laterally from one conference championship game runner-up to another and, in terms of defensive dominance, fell up. Arizona is also anchored by leaders in the secondary, such as Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, which will allow Jones is make his presence felt on the Cardinals' defensive line.

The new Cardinals pass rusher isn't the first great Patriot to be suddenly let go by the team. Remember Lawyer Milloy? The safety was released just prior to the start of the 2003 season despite seven successful seasons in Foxborough. He signed with the division rival Bills almost immediately, who proceeded to annihilate the Pats in the season opener. (The Patriots returned the favor in Week 17 and then won their second Super Bowl. but that's not the point!)

Jones will get his chance to Lawyer up against New England right away; the Cardinals play a Brady-less New England squad on Sunday Night Football in Week 1. We imagine the present amiability between former coach and player will have subsided by then.

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