The Kansas City Chiefs reportedly are unwilling to make defensive tackle Chris Jones the highest paid player at his position.
“The Chiefs, according to a league source, are unwilling to make Jones the league’s highest-paid defensive tackle,” The Athletic’s Nate Taylor wrote.
Jones has yet to join the team at training camp amid his contract dispute. He is in the final season of a four-year, $80 million deal that kicked in starting with the 2020 season.
“I don’t know when he’ll be here,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Monday. “I’ll tell you any work that he can get will help him. It’s a pretty fast game.”
The bright side for Chiefs fans is that the team’s general manager Brett Veach said that the team doesn’t plan on trading the four-time Pro Bowler.
“We have no intentions of trading Chris,” Veach told The Athletic. “Since the start of the offseason, Chris has been right at the top of our priorities. Every year, it’s a different scenario and a different dynamic. One of the dynamics this year was the fact that some of the players in that position group didn’t get done until late, so there was a natural holding pattern.”
Jones has been instrumental in the Chiefs’ two Super Bowl wins during his time with the franchise. A second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jones has become one of the best interior defensive linemen in the game.
Last season, Jones appeared in all 17 games for the Chiefs and was named an All-Pro. He matched his career high with 15.5 sacks, which he also reached in the 2018 season. In the 2022 campaign, Jones tallied 44 combined tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 29 quarterback hits. He also forced two fumbles.
While edge rushers usually get a ton of recognition for their sack numbers, Jones is a bit of a unique player with how much pressure he is able to bring up the middle by sacking opposing quarterbacks.
Since coming into the league, Jones has racked up 65.0 sacks, and he has at least 7.5 sacks in each season since the 2018 campaign.
Kansas City still has a Super Bowl window because it has star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but losing a player like Jones would be a massive blow to Kansas City’s defense.
For now, the two sides have yet to agree on a new deal, and it’s hard to see Jones settling for less than one of the top salaries for a defensive tackle.
With the 2023 regular season approaching, Kansas City and Jones will need to come to terms on a compromise for an extension. Otherwise, the star defender could consider sitting out the 2023 campaign.