TEMPE, Ariz. — Ask outside linebacker Chandler Jones if the millions the Arizona Cardinals invested in him was money well spent.

“Yeah,” he says. “Yeah.”

Maybe it’s gone unnoticed nationally on a mediocre (6-7) team in the desert, but Jones is having a monster season.

Entering this week’s play, Jones leads the NFL in sacks (14), tackles for loss (24) and quarterback hits (27).

Jones has no bigger cheerleader than Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who said the big linebacker has proven himself not just as a pass rusher but as a run stopper.

“I think he has maybe put to rest any inclination that he’s not a physical player on the edge,” Bettcher said. “His tape speaks for itself. I love how here recently he’s playing against the run, how physical he’s been at the point. I said it, I think, three weeks ago. There’s no question he should be a defensive player of the year candidate.”

In March 2016, the Cardinals acquired Jones from the New England Patriots for guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-year draft pick. A year later, Arizona signed him to a five-year, $82.5 million contract with $51 million guaranteed. He obviously is a big part of the franchise’s plans.

And he has lived up to their expectations.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson said “it’s fun” to watch Jones on the field. But he gets a far better idea of Jones’ talents when he watches tape of the game.

“To see some of the body positions, some of the hand placements that he’s able to use to get to the quarterback is definitely fun to watch,” Peterson said. “Chandler is having a big year. Last year he was kind of getting the system under his belt. … Now that he has a year under his belt, he’s rolling, he’s flying around.”

The 6-foot-5 Jones, who came to training camp at 260 pounds, 10 pounds lighter than the year before, believes he is far from what he can be.

“This offseason I’m going to be working more and more on my craft, trying to figure out how to become an elite defensive end, outside linebacker,” he said Thursday after practice for Sunday’s game at Washington.

“As far as a personal level, I feel there’s a long way to go.”

Jones, 27, has already has broken his personal high for sacks – 12 set with the Patriots in 2015. The Cardinals record is 16 by Simeon Rice in 1999.

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