Gil Brandt from NFL.com says that a sleeper trade candidate during the 2020 NFL Draft is Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones.
Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has been declarative when asked (repeatedly) about the status of franchise-tagged, All-Pro superstar defensive tackle Chris Jones. Veach, in no uncertain terms, has insisted that Jones is part of the future in Kansas City.
Despite his stance, some analysts have speculated that Jones could be traded before the NFL Draft for myriad reasons. First, his cap his is currently set around $16 million, which is a huge price tag for a team sitting barely $1 million over the cap just before the draft. Second, the Chiefs have franchise tagged Jones, just one year after tagging and trading another veteran pass rusher, Dee Ford.
Third, Jones appears to be on track to make Aaron Donald-esque money, north of $20 million per year. And finally, necessary for any Chiefs calculation, is the looming contract for former MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
But, Veach has been insistent. And, maybe Chris Jones does sign long term in Kansas City. However, according to NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt, he believes there is at least a chance he moves before the end of the NFL Draft:
This is the first rumor we’ve seen about Jones in weeks. If Chris Jones is going to be traded this offseason, you’d think that would come before the end of the the first round of the draft, which happens on Thursday night.
The Chiefs are likely to be looking for significant compensation (read first round pick) for their young, incredible superstar who was dominant in the team’s AFC Championship and Super Bowl victories. Earlier this offseason, the San Francisco 49ers traded defensive lineman DeForest Buckner for the 13th overall pick to the Indianapolis Colts. Buckner is a great comparison for Jones: both are Pro Bowlers, both are four years in to the league, both are among the best young players at their position, et cetera.
It remains to be seen if Kansas City can pry that sort of compensation for their defensive tackle. However, if Veach has reached the conclusion that Jones can no longer, financially, be in the long term plans for the Chiefs, he should be seeking a trade for a first round pick on Thursday night.
Some interesting trade targets for Kansas City include teams with cap space, need, and draft capital to acquire and pay Jones. Teams that come to mind include the Las Vegas Raiders (two first round picks), the Miami Dolphins (three first round picks), and the Minnesota Vikings (two first round picks, and appear to be losing star pass rusher Everson Griffen in free agency).
Stay tuned, Chiefs fans. Big news could be coming in the next 30 hours or so. Then again, it’s most important to remember that both sides—team and player—have said all along they wanted to work something out long term.