Trade request could end one of 49ers’ NFC West nightmares

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There are a slew of obstacles standing between the 49ers and their recapture of the NFC West division crown, but a trade request from one of their division rivals could make their path at least a little bit easier.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Sunday reported Cardinals veteran defensive end Chandler Jones officially requested a trade because of a rift stemming from his contract and his future with the club.

While there’s nothing imminent, Jones would likely have at least some market despite turning 31 this offseason and playing in only five games last season. Jones since joining the Cardinals in 2016 has been to two Pro Bowls and twice been a First-Team All-Pro. In 69 games with the Cardinals Jones has 61 sacks, 17 forced fumbles, 105 quarterback hits and 68 tackles for loss.

The 49ers would love to see Jones exit their division, which already features Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, JJ Watt, Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas.

San Francisco has never quite found a way to neutralize Jones despite seeing him twice a year every year for the past half decade. In nine games against the 49ers Jones has 7.0 sacks, 27 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits and a forced fumble.

Arizona is still anticipating he shows up for training camp according to Fowler. A rift between Jones and the Cardinals is welcome news for the 49ers, and a trade would certainly make life a lot easier when they matched up against a Jones-less Arizona defense.

Both 49ers games against the Red Birds take place before the halfway point. They’re in Arizona for Week 5, then home against them in Week 9. It’ll be worth keeping a close eye on Jones’ status throughout camp to see whether he shows and whether the Cardinals find a trade partner.

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