With four sacks, Cam Jordan enters the defensive player of the year conversation

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The pool of potential NFL defensive players of the year has grown by one.

With four sacks on Thanksgiving night in Atlanta, Saints defensive Cam Jordan has made it to the list.

The ninth-year veteran now has 13.5 for the season, currently the most in the NFL.

I saw that after the game, that’s dope,” Jordan said regarding his accomplishment, which ties a team record. “I had my first four-sack night, that’s dope. We won the NFC South, that’s dope. We got higher goals. Win a Super Bowl. I got a wedding ring, can I get a Super Bowl ring? Two rings.”

The possibility of finishing with 20 sacks (or maybe even tying the single-season record of 22.5 . . or maybe even breaking it with 23 or more) looms, but Jordan’s goals remain team-based.

“We want a Super Bowl,” Jordan said. “This is step one. We checked that off. We play the Niners apparently next week, you know, I never look too far ahead — minus this game. I might’ve had this game circled.”

Jordan made it clear that he’ll apply the 24-hour rule to the aftermath of the Atlanta game, especially since he didn’t allow himself that privilege after beating the Panthers on Sunday. As he told PFT by phone after the 34-31 win over Carolina, “I have 100 hours to get healthy” for the Falcons.

A few minutes later, I asked him if he’d be watching the extremely significant (especially for the Saints) Packers-49ers game on Sunday Night Football. He said, “No. I’ve got 99 hours and 57 minutes until my next game.”

He currently has more than 200 hours until his next game. So Jordan can enjoy this one, and he can at least ponder for a minute or five that possibility that, with another performance or two like last night over the final four weeks of the season, he could be getting votes for the highest prize given to any NFL defensive player.

Other viable candidates for now include Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones (who has 12.5 sacks), Buccaneers defensive end Shaq Barrett (who also has 12.5 sacks), Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (who has 11.5 sacks), and 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa.

There are so many viable candidates I’m probably missing one or two. And there may be one or two who are one four-sack game away from forcing their way into the mix, like Jordan did last night.

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