I’ve been a staunch supporter of Chandler Jones since the beginning of his career. In the face of vocal opposition, I’ve stood by him and I’ve paid the political price. I’ve literally been shrieked at on the air by callers, shouted down on social media and been the subject of protests by cyberbullies on our text line who’ve double-clicked the shift button to tell us how much Jones “SUCKS!!!!” But I’ve stuck to my guns because he has been a solid and often spectacular defensive end. There are only three NFL players who’ve topped 200 tackles, 36 sacks and 10 forced fumbles since Jones came into the league in 2012: J.J. Watt, Ryan Kerrigan and him.

So on a scale of zero to the Lawyer Milloy trade, I’d say the surprise of the Patriots trading Jones on Tuesday for guard Jonathan Cooper and the Cardinals’ second-round pick was about a five. And yet, I love the trade. Not “like.” Love. Let me count the reasons why:

5. Economics

There was just no reasonable way the Pats were going to be able to sign Jones. If NFL GMs have been spending money like the proverbial drunken sailors this free agency period, then pass rushers have been their $10,000-a-night escorts. Oakland gave Bruce Irvin four years at $40 million, and Jones is appreciably better than he is. The Giants gave Olivier Vernon $85 million, with $52.5 million of that guaranteed. And he has seven fewer career sacks than Jones. It’s a seller’s market for edge rushers, and the prices are, to use the old cliche, innnsaaannne! The Patriots are too smart and disciplined to completely tip over their salary structure and make a defensive end by far the highest-paid player on the roster.

4. Need

What’s the one area on this team every man, woman and child among us has said is the top priority this offseason? Don’t answer. I’ve got this. It’s protecting Tom Brady. By the time we got to the AFC championship game, he was taking so much abuse it looked like he had the title role in a Mel Gibson movie. Granted the offensive line had been decimated by that point. But we’ve learned the lesson that there’s no such thing as too much protection. (Note: that goes for on and off the field, Antonio Cromartie.)

3. The return on investment

I’m an educated man, but I’m afraid I can’t speak intelligently about the blocking habits of Jonathan Cooper. We do know he was the seventh overall pick in the draft three years ago. Nick Caserio confirms that the Patriots had him very highly rated on their board. Their track record on evaluating offensive line talent matches up with anyone’s. And while I’ll concede there’s some risk here because by all accounts it was a make-or-break year for Cooper in Arizona, there’s reward as well, and it’s not often you get a shot at guys with so much potential they were selected in the single digits. The second round pick speaks for itself, and it says, “Hello, New England. I’ve now given you four picks between the 6oth and 96th spots in the draft.”

2. Dispensability

I say again, I like Chandler Jones. But he is not irreplaceable. Jabaal Sheard proved he can give you a fair approximation of Jones’ performance, if not sometimes flash even more. They just added Chris Long, who, in the last four years he was healthy, averaged over 10 sacks a season. Add to that the fact they drafted Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers in the third and early fourth rounds last year to doomsday prep for this very scenario. Not to mention the afterthoughts they’ve successfully coached up to good seasons, such as rush specialists Mark Anderson, Tully-Banta Cain and Andre Carter. Jones is a loss, no question. But not an insurmountable one.

And finally:

1. In Bill We Trust

Sorry, but as a Patriots homer I’m morally and contractually obligated to say it. Also, it’s true.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

In his eighth and final March Madness as a resident of the White House, President Barack Obama picked Kansas to beat North Carolina in the NCAA championship game.

“Bill Self owes me,” Obama joked about the Kansas coach while filling out his bracket with ESPN’s Andy Katz, as he picked Kansas to win twice before with no success. “I’m putting Kansas in here. Coach, I’m just teasing. I’m not putting pressure on you. But I think the Jayhawks in a squeaker get past UNC.”

Obama correctly predicted North Carolina would win in 2009, his first NCAA Tournament as Commander in Chief, but he has not picked the right winner since.

“This is going to be the year,” he said. “I started off making the right pick, I’m going to end making the right pick.”

Obama also has Texas A&M and Michigan State in his Final Four.

While acknowledging he doesn’t know enough about the smaller programs to predict many upsets, Obama — a native of Hawaii — went with 13th-seeded Hawaii to knock off fourth-seeded California in the first round.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Sam Monson weighed in on the Chandler Jones trade.
Donald Trump had another great night.

[0:02:57] ... people look and that's why I didn't get involved in this mean. Lincoln Chafee. Fitness and how I Martin O'Malley did she beat me image he's just the worst candidate I've ever seen in my life. ...
[0:05:07] ... you know with because there's some pictures of him like on the golf course in the without had the wind blows it looks read it off it looks it laughable. And I mean you can't to eight years in the windows wouldn't get caught some compromising position annual Bill Clinton did so many of them talk about it I don't work for bill it photographer around all the time yeah there's always White House. How close is ever come to sing and this is eight too much work being looked stupid C it's totally out of ...
[0:08:20] ... as one convict her proposals and it was sent it looks like North Korea. Under thirty. Democrats are like 98 to ten for burn and now there it's this nobody under thirty who blitzer no I ...

The guys discussed the Patriots trade;

Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Thunder at Celtics, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN)
NBA: Clippers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Holy Cross vs. Southern, 6:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Michigan vs. Tulsa, 9:10 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NIT, Belmont at Georgia, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Princeton at Virginia Tech, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Houston at Georgia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, UAB at BYU, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Flyers at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Twins, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB preseason: Tigers at Astros, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: White Sox at Brewers, 4:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Reds at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal vs. Barcelona, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)


Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

— There have been rumors in New York that Knicks president Phil Jackson might consider returning to the sideline as coach — perhaps only for home games, leaving current interim coach Kurt Rambis to handle away games. Carmelo Anthony, however, said that won’t be the case.

“Nah, nah, nah. I don’t think that should be accepted,” Anthony said Tuesday. “I wouldn’t accept that if that was the case. Phil is cool, man. He doesn’t need to be on the sidelines no more. He put so many years into this game. He’s cool. He doesn’t need to be on the sideline. I don’t think he’s thinking about coming back down on the sideline. I hope not. Let him ride on out. Let him sit out and be the president.”

Added Anthony: “Phil ain’t coaching no more, man. So let’s [kill] that rumor. Phil ain’t coaching no more.”

Last week Jackson hinted Rambis might be promoted to permanent coach. Anthony also had something less than enthusiastic to say about that.

“I think you still have to at least listen to other candidates out there,” Anthony said.

Anthony did not dismiss Rambis as an option, although Rambis’ 5-9 record since taking over for Derek Fisher last month — and his 32-132 record in his previous stint with the Timberwolves — isn’t blowing anyone away.

“I think you consider Kurt at that job,” Anthony said. “[Jackson] brought Kurt here for that reason if anything was to happen and the situation is here for him now. I think it’s just more of seeing how Kurt handles the situation right now, how the team does, how the team responds to Kurt.”

— Louisville coach Rick Pitino continues to profess ignorance to claims that an assistant coach paid strippers to perform for players and recruits during parties at a campus dormitory.

Speaking on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike,” Pitino said he hopes the NCAA investigation “comes up with the right answers, because it’s puzzling to all of us.”

Louisville self-imposed a ban on postseason play this season when it became clear there was some truth to the allegations that Andre McGee, a graduate assistant coach who became director of basketball operations, delivered strippers and cash to the players. Pitino said he doesn’t understand why McGee would take that risk, and he got in a dig at rival John Calipari in the process.

“If I could just get Andre McGee in a room for 10 minutes, I would say to him: ‘Why would you do this? What purpose did it serve? We didn’t need this to get recruits,’ ” Pitino said. “We’re not Kentucky, where we’re recruiting the one-and-dones. We have a different way we recruit. It didn’t make any sense what was going on. How these women infiltrated our program is very disturbing to me. And how Andre McGee, I should not say how, but why did Andre McGee get tied into this? Only Andre can make those answers. Someday I want him to do that. The last text I sent to him was, ‘Andre, I asked for one thing, and that’s for you to be honest and tell the truth.’ ”

Regarding his team’s postseason ban, Pitino said, “To say it breaks my heart would be putting it mildly.”

Added the former Celtics coach: “It’s a bitter pill to swallow. March Madness is my favorite time of the year.”

— An attorney for Mateen Cleaves vigorously defended the former NBA player against an accusation of sexual assault.

Cleaves, who led Michigan State to the 2000 national championship before embarking on a six-year NBA career, was expected to be arraigned Thursday after turning himself into police in Detroit. The 39-year-old was accused by a 24-year-old woman of driving her to a motel room and attacking her after they met at a charity golf event.

Cleaves’ attorney, Frank J. Manley called the charges “outrageous. … They’re false.”

“They have been catastrophic to Mr. Cleaves’ career. Where does he go to get his reputation back?”

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy doesn’t see it that way, saying: “The evidence in this case will show that the alleged actions of this defendant were not only criminal, but arose out of a sense of entitlement sometimes found in prominent people.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below):
On March 16, 1960, the Red Sox made a trade with the Indians, sending which catcher who chose to retire instead, negating the deal?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I want to thank the Patriots, the Kraft family and all of Pats Nation for making my time in New England so special.” — Defensive end Chandler Jones, after being traded from the Patriots to the Cardinals

STAT OF THE DAY: 55 — Days since the Celtics last lost back-to-back games, which they did with Tuesday’s 103-98 setback vs. the Pacers that followed Friday’s loss to the Rockets

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Cubs prospect John Andreoli (from Shrewsbury) hits a ball of the top of the right-field fence and races around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.

The Angels get a strange double play as left fielder Daniel Nava catches the second out but throws the ball into the stands thinking it was the end of the inning. However, Mariners baserunner Stefen Romero fails to retouch first base, and the Angels get the out on an appeal.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Sammy White, who returned to baseball a year later for one-year stints with the Milwaukee Braves and Phillies

Nancy Wilson of Heart was born on this day in 1954. She’s the blonde.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Christian Arcand goes in depth with Ryan Hannibal discussing the Chandler Jones trade.

[0:03:40] ... him walk at the end of the season. And and having in Tom Brady's you know window here a guy in his prime in elite in my opinion anyway pass rusher. For one more season I just don't see how that how that weighs more than any other at the it's a lost three now. I know I've been with me you're really not a big fan in the beginning of the John Cooper I guess not. I mean my take on the trade efforts you know I mean. I wasn't surprised that they opted to ...
[0:06:25] ... arsenal and you know worry about the rebuild in two years from Tom Brady's 41. And people I think we're going to be upset to see don't go don't wanna hear this but I think this trade. So that they've got a lot of confidence in some of the younger guys I think abolished here it is it Gunner obviously. Be asked to do a whole lot more this year on and you look at depth chart I mean that's not bad on the front side with Ninkovich cheered I think they're gonna expect bigger things to Grissom. And flowers. And it does remind me a lot of this I don't know yet talked about it earlier in the show but you know when you look at what happened with Richard Seymour a lot of people upset when he was shipped out in 2009. Right. That turn in the but it. Into the needs ...
[0:10:42] ... between. Six weeks ago and one of the NFL adopted at the Super Bowl saying I distill out and what Jeff Miller said yesterday so. It's funny I mean you can't really put the toothpaste back ...

Christian Arcand goes in depth with Ryan Hannibal discussing the Chandler Jones trade.