The Chiefs applied the franchise tag to Chris Jones, but that’s not where this contract drama ends.
The Kansas City Chiefs defensive line is driven by Chris Jones, who finished last season with nine sacks and a Pro Bowl appearance. The Super Bowl champs have gone nearly all offseason without any drama to distract them from their post-championship glow…until now.
Jones, who is on the franchise tag and is scheduled to make just north of $16 million should he opt to play on it, is evidently not happy about his lack of a long-term contract.
In a Twitter reply that will serve as a major update to all Chiefs fans, Jones suggested he might opt not to play should KC put off his extension into the regular season.
Chris Jones could take a page out of Le’Veon Bell’s book and not play without an extension from the Chiefs.
This serves as a concerning development for general manager Brett Veach and Co., as they’re already dealing with a less-than-flexible cap situation and would prefer to make Patrick Mahomes the next recipient of a major contract extension.
Instead, Jones wants to be the priority, and that’s well within his right. At age 26, Jones is well aware that he plays a premium position, and the Chiefs can’t afford to keep losing pass rushers.
By letting the likes of Dee Ford and Justin Houston leave over the last few seasons, the Chiefs have been able to plug and draft for positions of need enough to keep their defense intact. Losing Jones’ production would prove far more tough to replace.
The Chiefs are expected to have just over $3 million available in cap space in their top-51, per Spotrac. That limited wiggle room means they’d have to find cuts elsewhere, or rework the contracts of other top players to make a Jones extension feasible.
While he might be bluffing, the Chiefs would be best served to take Jones at his word unless they want to risk entering the 2020 season without much of a pass rush.