New scheme and position at heart of Chris Jones holdout

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 16: Defensive end Chris Jones
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 16: Defensive end Chris Jones /

Chris Jones and the Chiefs have ground to cover in negotiations toward a new contract, and a new scheme and new position adds to the issues.

When the Kansas City Chiefs changed defensive schemes this offseason, Chris Jones went from being a defensive end to defensive tackle. This position difference offers perspective on the issues over Chris Jones and his impending payday.

It is far from a new problem for any NFL general manager. Defensive players, specifically those who are skilled at getting to the quarterback, make the most money. Traditionally, these players have been defensive ends or outside linebacker (edge rushers).

In the last couple of seasons, as schemes become more diverse and defenses have been forced to employ more athletic players, we have seen interior defensive lineman emphasizing pass rush more and more. As NFL defensive evolve and the pass rushers emerge from different positions, those same pass-rushers anticipate being paid similarly to their traditionally positioned pass-rush counterparts.

The growing positional ambiguity in the NFL, coupled with the Chiefs changing defensive coaches and subsequentially schemes, has culminated in a chasm in the negotiations between Chris Jones and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jeffri Chadiha, an writer, acknowledged as much with the following post on Friday.

This reported gap suggests that the organization views Chris Jones strictly as a defensive tackle, and their plans are to compensate him as such. Jones’ position is clear: He gets to the quarterback and should be paid like a pass rusher.

Interestingly, Chris Jones has posted several videos and pictures of him working out this offseason prior to training camp. In the video below, Jones appears to be in phenomenal shape and looks to have slimmed down. These images and videos have led many to speculate that Jones could end up playing defensive end in the new 4-3 defensive scheme.

Of course, what Jones actually weighs in at and how that affects his position and playing time will play out over the coming months. It is a good sign for Chiefs Kingdom that Jones appears to be in such great shape, regardless of what position he lines up at.

While the reported gap between Jones and the Chiefs is large, there is plenty of time for the two sides to negotiate and for Jones to make his case as an elite pass rusher in the NFL. There’s also plenty of time to work out a trade or move on from Jones, as Veach has done with several players from the past regime.

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For now, the Kansas City faithful will have to watch and wait, but all of Chiefs Kingdom can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Chris Jones has shown up for camp.