Chris Jones' Unsolved Contract Continues to Loom Large
In a breakdown of the NFL's most impactful looming contract situations, Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr gives members of the Kansas City Chiefs two spots in the NFL's Top 10.
Second on the overall list was the impending mega-deal of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Farther down the list, the Chiefs have another currently-unsolved contract situation:
9. Chris Jones, DT, Kansas City Chiefs
Fifty quarterback hits, 27 tackles for loss and 24.5 sacks over the last two years should make Chris Jones a wealthy man once the franchise tag no longer becomes a realistic option. While the franchise tag is a serious annoyance for someone like Jones, who has consistently outplayed his rookie deal since being drafted in the second round in 2016, it will be a launching pad for a $100 million-plus deal the following spring, should he stay healthy (and should the Chiefs balk at signing him now).
It's interesting that Orr's first assumption for Jones' deal is that he'll play out the 2020 season under the franchise tag, then go elsewhere next offseason. In light of this week's latest set of Jones projections, published after Orr's article, that prediction seems plausible, though it seems fair to reason that both sides would still prefer a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline. Jones could choose to sit out the 2020 season, but that would be a severe blow to the Chiefs' Run It Back campaign.
The biggest surprise at this point would be if the Chiefs traded Jones, long after the NFL Draft. While that would help the Chiefs recoup assets for the long-term, it would still remove arguably their best defensive player from their attempt to defend their Super Bowl championship.