Adam Schefter answered fan questions on Twitter and stated that the Kansas City Chiefs are planning to keep Chris Jones in the process.
It wasn’t that long ago that Chiefs Kingdom was asking questions about whether or not Chris Jones would play any more games at Arrowhead. Now the choices before the Kansas City Chiefs are about how long they will keep him—just for the 2020 season or for several more years.
The Chiefs only official action regarding Jones this offseason has been to use the franchise tag on him. Given his dominant position as a defensive tackle, the set amount owed to Jones this coming season will be just over $16.1 million. Tagging Jones put the Chiefs in control for the coming year and gives the All-Pro lineman very little in terms of leverage other than the ability to hold out several games.
The Chiefs could also, in theory, work out a tag-and-trade, which is exactly what they did with pass rusher Dee Ford one year ago. The Chiefs used the franchise tag on Ford to keep him from hitting unrestricted free agency and then shipped those rights to Ford for the coming year to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick. Ford promptly signed a contract extension after the trade.
It’s possible the Chiefs could still do that, but ESPN reporter Adam Schefter doesn’t believe that’s the case. Both sides—Jones and the Chiefs—have made public remarks that they want to work something out and Schefter is betting on that happening, even if it’s just for the next year.
During a recent Twitter Q&A, Schefter was asked about any latest news regarding Jones, and he emphasized how much the Chiefs want to keep him.
“They put the franchise tag on [Jones] so they’re planning to keep him,” said Schefter. “Now he’s going to want a new long-term deal but that may be tough to achieve. Both sides will work to make that happen.
“They know he’ll be costly. They want to keep him. They kinda have to keep him. I would say that both sides will have until July 15 to try to work out a long-term deal which is why the Chiefs are so up against the cap right now. They know they have big moves to make.”
One such move was creating more cap space before the draft by working out a new deal with wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Both Jones and Watkins were often floated as potential players who could be on new teams in 2020 due to the team’s financial picture. So far, the Chiefs seem committed to retaining both instead.
The July 15 date mentioned by Schefter is the deadline that teams who have a player on the franchise tag can attempt to reach a long-term agreement. If that date comes and goes with no new agreement, the player is stuck playing out the regular season on the designated amount. It also keeps the team and player from reaching a contract extension until after the season is completed.
For now, Jones is signed to a one-year, $16.1 million deal with the Chiefs through 2020. Both sides are also on record stating they want to work out a long-term deal. Given the public comments and Schefter’s take, the idea of Chris Jones playing for another team feels like the most unlikely scenario of all.