The Kansas City Chiefs cannot keep everyone—and that’s okay

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers breaks a tackle from Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers breaks a tackle from Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Chiefs Chatter looks at the contractual demands of Chris Jones and what the Chiefs should do.

Recently we argued that Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach faces the first big hurdle of his career as it relates to his management of Chris Jones and his contract extension or trade. (To clarify: we still believe a long-term extension is the most likely scenario for Jones and the Chiefs.)

In response to the piece, a vocal (presumptive) minority of Chiefs Kingdom responded with general disdain for the Chiefs’ All-Pro defensive tackle. They argued that if he refuses to take a hometown discount to stay with the Chiefs long term, then good riddance to him because we do not want him here anyway.

My only response to that is: what?

We have to be different than this, Chiefs fans. This is going to be a common theme of the next 12-15 years as the Chiefs consistently have the best player in football on the sports’ richest contract. The team cannot keep everyone—and that’s okay.

It’s not okay to be mad at superstar players with a chance to cash in, to set up their family for multiple generations by maximizing their earning potential in their very, very short window in this league. You can’t blame a player like Jones for refusing to take a pay cut to stay in Kansas City. I’m not the only one that feels this way.

We should not write off Jones, or any player, for refusing to take less than their market value to stay with a winning franchise. Would you take less than what you think you’re worth to do your job (or less than you could get elsewhere)?

The point is this: the Chiefs are going to draw hard lines with contract negotiations with nearly every player on the roster when the time comes to offer a new deal. Some players will take those deals because they want to be part of the team, or they want to increase their future value (see Demarcus Robinson re-signing for pennies or Sammy Watkins‘ restructured deal). However, not every player is going to do that and we should not expect them to.

To dismiss Chris Jones, who was integral to winning Super Bowl LIV, as “not a team player” or “not important” because he wants to maximize his contract value is wrong and disrespectful. We’ll be here a lot over the next 15 years (hopefully), so get used to losing players who demand more than the team can pay them.

Reader Question

Each week, we’ll answer a question or two from readers about our team. These can be about any topic related to the Chiefs, send me a question via DM (@kthomps58). This week’s question comes Michael Harris of Wichita, Kansas. Michael asks:

Looking ahead beyond just Patrick Mahomes, do the Chiefs have on field leadership in place that they can continue to be successful without having to make a “big splash” in free agency? I.E. Can they continue to be successful with guys on rookie contracts and mid-level free agent signings?

Great question, Michael. Thank you!

I think that the answer is that they hope so. Ultimately the team will have to make decisions about which stars to keep, and which ones not to, and it would seem likely that the team will do so (at least partially) based on leadership skills.

There are several options that we believe the Chiefs have on the roster now. One would think they’d make a strong push to keep safety Tyrann Mathieu (who has two years left on his contract) long term. If not, the team has four more years of defensive end Frank Clark, who was a clear leader down the stretch for Kansas City. Finally, when listening to the team talk about them, it seems like they believe that safety Juan Thornhill has Mathieu-like leadership potential, and they are very high on rookie second round pick linebacker Willie Gay, Jr., too.

So, I guess the answer is yes, hopefully. If Brett Veach is drafting the right players, the team should be able to utilize rookies in their 3rd and 4th years of contracts as necessary leaders. One would suspect that they’ll also likely have two-to-three “big contract” type guys. They’d likely prefer those to be mostly home-grown talents (Thornill, Gay, etc) in the future, to not have to give up a boat load for another Clark-like trade and deal. The key will be all about drafting the right guys and then signing the right contracts at the right times—something Veach’s predecessor was not very good at.

Chiefs Trivia

Each week’s column will feature a trivia question related to the Kansas City Chiefs. Challenge yourself by coming up with the correct response without looking it up! Enter for a chance to win a Chiefs prize via either Facebook or Twitter Direct/Private Messaging. Must retweet or share the column on your personal page, and provide the correct answer via PM/DM, to be eligible. Winner will be chosen at random on Saturday.

Last week’s winner was Jim Leuty of Meridan, Kansas who correctly identified former Chiefs running back Abner Haynes as the retired number 28 for Kansas City. Congratulations Jim!

This week’s question trivia is: What 3rd round pick in 1976 started 101 consecutive games to start his NFL career for Kansas City? 

NFL Story of the Week

The story of the week in the NFL has shifted some from last week, where the NFL was talking about supporting Black Lives Matter and its’ players, but not actually doing anything about it. Since that time, the NFL has committed $250 million dollars to equity work, and committed to fielding a staff of folks (perhaps even Colin Kaepernick) to lead those efforts.

This does not give the NFL a free pass on what it has done in the past, nor does it abdicate them from resolving other issues which plague the game as it pertains to racial equity—e.g. the hiring of minority coaches, the presence of visible “3%’s” tattoos on its players, racist team nicknames and mascots, just to name a few.

If the NFL is serious about using its massive base, financial resources, and near limitless reach to make a transformative, true difference in society, then it cannot end here. The NFL must continue to make positive steps forward, and active contributions to society writ-large. They must listen to their black players, and implement policies consistent with what those players say.

This is a positive step, but there is much more work to be done.

Chiefs Fact of the Week

The first regular season win in franchise history came over the Oakland Raiders on September 16, 1960 when the Dallas Texans defeated the Raiders in Oakland, 34-16.

Chiefs Record of the Week

Tony Gonzalez leads all Chiefs pass catchers (tight ends and receivers) for: most games played (107), most career receptions (916), most career receiving yards (10940), and most career touchdown catches (76) in his time with Kansas City.

Random Fact of the Week

Hannibal Lecter does not blink a single time in the movie The Silence of the Lambs.

Sports Quote of the Week

“While I am filled with outrage at what has transpired and support all of the peaceful protests going on across the country, I want to urge everyone to figure out how we can continue this demand for change and bring an end to this institutional racism…” -Chris Jones

Oddball Sport of the Week

Cheese Rolling: “Competitors take part in the annual Cheese-Rolling event at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire, U.K. Here’s how it works: a large cheese wheel is rolled down a steep hill, and competitors race after it. The first person to reach the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. It may not sound dangerous, but the steepness of the hill has resulted in several injuries.”

dark. Next. The most underrated moves of Veach's career