'Or I Won't Play' — Chris Jones Says He Could Sit Out Season Without New Deal
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones has not signed his franchise tag for the 2020 season as he seeks a long-term deal for the second consecutive offseason. Now, in a tweet, Jones acknowledges that he has options for the season.
Jones' tweet, "Or I won't play. @LeVeonBell told me about this," references' Bell's holdout during the 2018 season as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jones was responding to a video of NFL Network's Mike Garafolo saying that there's "a lot of work to be done" between Jones and the Chiefs, as Jones views himself as a player worth $20 million-plus per year, and according to Garafolo, the Chiefs don't.
Garafolo says Jones is deserving of a long-term deal, but says he's "not quite sure it's gonna happen, though."
Jones is currently slated to make just north of $16 million in 2020, but Jones clearly wants the security of a long-term deal to ensure his extended future in the NFL.
Jones tweeted again, replying to Bell roughly an hour later.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport had previously reported that Jones and the Chiefs hadn't made progress in recent weeks because they have not negotiated since Jones was franchise tagged earlier in the offseason. Now, the clock is ticking to the NFL's June 15 deadline, and it seems that the Chiefs and Jones aren't close.
NFL Network's Jeffri Chadiha says that Jones is looking for a deal similar to what the Chiefs gave defensive end Frank Clark, looking at around $21 million per year.
Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer wrote Monday that Clark's deal has become a sticking point between Jones and the Chiefs:
There’s an in interesting lesson in the Chiefs’ contract impasse with Chris Jones. Whenever a team makes a big splash by acquiring a player from somewhere else, there will be ripples coming from within. A year after K.C. traded first- and second-round picks to Seattle for pass-rusher Frank Clark, then signed him to a five-year, $105.5 million contract, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the building that would call the move a mistake. And really, it wasn’t one. Clark made an immediate impact as the Chiefs’ once-dreadful defense improved, and was one of the best players on the field for the franchise’s first Super Bowl win in a half-century. But even now, the impact of giving Clark what they did, which is what it was always going to take to get him signed (the franchise tag set the bar for comp, and Dallas’s DeMarcus Lawrence set the bar for money), is being felt. Jones wants $21 million per year, or thereabouts, and that figure isn’t something he and his camp pulled out of the sky. When the Chiefs paid Clark, they set the floor for Jones, who, obviously, could look at what they were giving someone from the outside, and wonder what that should mean for the earning power of someone who’d actually built up some capital inside the building before it was time to actually get paid. And so if you ask me whether or not Jones is going to get a deal by the July 15 deadline for one, I think it boils down to the Chiefs’ willingness to go to $21 million per with Jones, which is a result of their willingness to go there with Clark.
If the Chiefs and Jones don't agree to a long-term deal by July 15, Jones will either have to play under the one-year franchise tag or sit out the season. With this tweet, the latter seems like a legitimate possibility.