Chris Jones ranked as No. 2 free agent by

Chris Jones Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Chris Jones Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones has been ranked by as the second best free agent-to-be this offseason.

If you’re wondering just how difficult the decision is regarding Chris Jones’ future with the Kansas City Chiefs, look no further than the list of this year’s top free agents over at There at No. 2, behind only quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, stands Jones, an interior defensive presence who can wreck a game under the brightest lights—just ask the San Francisco 49ers.

Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling assembled this year’s list and they’ve done right by Jones by listing him so high. Jones has been an All-Pro talent waiting for his due for some time, even after setting an NFL record for most consecutive games with a sack with 11 in 2018.

“What do we call a Pro Bowler capable of swinging a Super Bowl while playing through a painful calf strain? Maybe the highest-paid defensive player in the game,” said the report.

Here’s why this is so painful for the Chiefs. On the one hand, the decision seems obvious (and not difficult) given Jones’ importance to the team. The Cowboys certainly aren’t letting Prescott walk, so why would the Chiefs let Jones leave? Brett Veach says he wants to keep him, and Jones says he wants to stay. Given his talent, it should be straightforward.

Except things aren’t that easy when it comes to the salary cap limitations given the Chiefs these days. Frank Clark is scheduled to make $20 million annually just down the line from Jones, and the bill is coming due for major salary increases for Tyrann Mathieu, Tyreek Hill, Eric Fisher, and Anthony Hitchens. That doesn’t include the extension due to Patrick Mahomes, a bill to eclipse all others.

The Chiefs can backload Jones’ deal to be sure, but then the Chiefs might be playing with fire. Would the deal become the sort of franchise-crippling albatross that defines some franchises? After all, the Patriots established an impressive avoidance of these sorts of deals and won six Super Bowls on the strength of their quarterback-head coach relationship.

What is clear is that Jones is going to get paid, to be sure. By whom and when remains up in the air, but he’s ready to be a household name for NFL fans if he’s not already. And now he’s also ready to get paid like one.

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