The 3 Obstacles to the Cowboys Chasing Chiefs Super Bowl DT Chris Jones in Free Agency
FRISCO - The 2020 Dallas Cowboys are presently thin at defensive tackle. And Chris Jones? He's thick in every possible positive way and at 6'6" and 310 pounds, he's an interior player who fills space, gets upfield and has star qualities.
Cowboys Nation is therefore justified in drooling over the idea that its team, with more than $80 million in cap room, could chase the Kansas City Chiefs standout who is about to raise his profile even more by playing in the Super Bowl.
Jones, 25, was a second-round pick who held out for a time last offseason in search of a new contract that never came. In a contract season, he totaled nine sacks for the AFC champs, backing up his 2018 effort when he totaled 15.5 sacks.
Ah, if only it was easy to bring him to Dallas. But alas, there are three obstacles:
HOW'S THE ON-FIELD FIT?: This one should be easy as it relates specifically to Jones, but the bigger picture will be interesting to chart. Cowboys execs are suggesting that under new coach Mike McCarthy, the team will want to be more "multiple'' on defense, and that can mean finding interior linemen with more versatility, bulk and athleticism.
But is that really substantially different than the Cowboys might always want? It's not as if they prefer the limitations that come with an Antwaun Woods, a Trysten Hill or a Michael Bennett, guys with vastly different styles and body types who all played inside last year.
No matter how Dallas lines up (primarily with four down linemen) and no matter any new "traits'' desired, wanting Chris Jones is the easy part.
CAN DALLAS AFFORD HIM?: In a word, no.
The Cowboys' sharp-pencil guys have a plan, and it's been in place for over a year. Yes, Dallas has $80-million-plus in cap room. But that money is already earmarked—already "spent,'' in a sense.
The plan features QB Dak Prescott getting paid like a "top-five'' player at his position, and the plan features something similar for Amari Cooper as a receiver.
Our colleague Bryan Broaddus has brainstormed an idea: What if Dallas scraps the Cooper plan to instead commit that money to somebody like Chris Jones?
It would indeed require an earth-shaking change of thinking along those lines inside The Star for Jones to become a Cowboy.
WHAT'S THE CHIEFS' PLAN?: This too often gets omitted from Cowboys Nation when these sort of concepts pop up. We all concede that "Dallas rarely loses one of its own that it wants to keep.'' Why wouldn't we give Chiefs management the same credit?
Pro Football Focus ranks Jones as the top defensive player on this year's free-agent market and No. 7 overall. (Cooper is ranked at No. 6.) OverTheCap.com pegs Jones's value at $72 million over four seasons with $52 million guaranteed, but Jones is believed to be seeking a contract close to Aaron Donald's six-year deal with the Rams worth $135 million with $86.9 million guaranteed.
Short of that? The Chiefs can simply use the franchise tag on Jones.
A year ago, Chiefs GM Brett Veach said of the popular Jones, "He’s certainly a guy that we’ve targeted and would love to get done.”
That love for Chris Jones has only intensified in Kansas City ... no matter how much Dallas might love him from afar.