Chris Jones deserves everything

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts during the game against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts during the game against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Whether it’s from the Chiefs or not, Chris Jones deserves everything he wants.

You begin with Chris Jones and build up from there.

As a foundational player, and let this be clear as I write this because the Kansas City Chiefs do not have several foundational players, Jones is the building block that a franchise builds upon. It all starts there.

This is important because right now Chris Jones and the Chiefs, his current employer, have two more weeks to work out a long-term contract extension or else they’ll have to set any such negotiations aside until the conclusion of the 2020 season. Not only does that come with risks aplenty, but it also sours a relationship between parties that, to date, have said and done all the right things. Fortunately there’s still time on the clock, but it’s fading quickly and latest reports show that hope is dwindling rather than picking up.

If the Chiefs somehow allow this to go south;, if they decide to anger their defensive anchor; if they refuse to follow through on public statements made by the owner, the general manager, and the head coach that the plan was to sign Jones long-term, then the Chiefs have a very serious problem—one that would hamper any ability to follow through on consecutive Super Bowl titles. What makes all of this so frustrating (and it seems especially so for Jones himself) is that it should have never come to this.

Chris Jones deserves everything. The Chiefs should give it to him.

For those who want to quote the team’s current financial woes, the presence of other players, or how other teams handle their own stars, I’m disinterested in all of your arguments. You should set them aside, too. They are distractions from the core facts in this case—which brings us back to the beginning that Jones is foundational.

When Jones first entered the NFL in the early second round (thank you, John Dorsey), the projections were elite all along. As a prospect, Jones already possessed elite length, size, strength, balance, burst, and versatility before he ever played a single snap in the NFL. However, questions about consistency and work ethic along with some off-the-field issues dropped him out of the first round. Those few questions have been answered confidently by Jones, who has been a model citizen and team leader since his arrival in K.C.

Over the last four years, Jones has dominated offensive interiors and disrupted opposing quarterbacks from the heart of the Chiefs defense. The stat sheet tells part of the story, with career totals so far of 33 sacks, 72 quarterback hits, 37 tackles for loss, 20 batted passes, 7 forced fumbles, and even 2 interceptions. What’s even more amazing is that he’s able to wreak havoc from the middle, which enables edge rushers like Frank Clark an easier path to the quarterback (and vice versa, really).

If somehow the fog of the COVID-19 quarantine or the length of the NFL offseason has made you forget, Chris Jones was a one-man wrecking crew in the Chiefs postseason. Remember Bashaud Breeland‘s interception was a direct result of Jones making Jimmy Garoppolo weak in the knees up front:

This thread is also very helpful to see how Jones just dominated the Niners front line down the stretch in the fourth quarter:

From key batted passes to quarterback hurries, from run stops to redirected play calls, Chris Jones was essential for the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV and it’s likely they lose that game to the San Francisco 49ers with a lesser player in his role.

To sum it up, Chris Jones is an All-Pro on a Hall of Fame trajectory, a talent who is second only to Aaron Donald among interior disruptors. Oh yeah, he’s also only 25-years-old.

Back to the foundational label. It can only be used a few times—maybe two or three. Not every franchise has a foundational player at all, and teams with two or more of them are the ones in the postseason every year. For the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes is the obvious foundation upon which the offense is built. On defense, Jones is that man.

Let’s be clear about this: Tyreek Hill is not a foundational player. Neither is Travis Kelce, Mitchell Schwartz, or Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Other teams have had an elite wideout or tight end only to flounder every season. Such pieces are nice, even excellent, but they are not foundational.

The case can be made that Tyrann Mathieu is also one such player, but the Landlord has also played recent seasons for the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans without the same level of impact he showcased in 2019. Frank Clark, Juan Thornhill or Charvarius Ward are also not foundational players. That doesn’t take anything away from any of these Chiefs stars. They are all blessed with incredible talent and several of them could be immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day. The accolades are deserved. The Pro Bowl honors are merited. The spotlight rightfully shines upon each and every one of them.

But one thing we can say for certain is that Jones is foundational, and the Chiefs have known for this quite some time. It was clear when he led the team in sacks with 15.5 in 2018. One year ago, Jones was pleading for a reworked deal, knowing that one single injury could undo his body of work and threaten the payday he has so clearly earned on the field. The Chiefs have benefitted from Jones playing for pennies on the dollar of his real value thanks to the collective bargaining agreement.

For the last 12-plus months, Jones has simply been asking for the Chiefs to finally offer up a fair price in return for years of disproportional production compared to his paycheck. Here’s the kicker (and what is likely most frustrating to Jones): he’s watched the Chiefs pay foundational prices (or near that) to several other players over the last two years. This goes far beyond Clark or Mathieu. The Chiefs reset the market at linebacker and wide receiver to sign Anthony Hitchens and Sammy Watkins, respectively. It’s not as if the Chiefs paid high prices—they paid astronomically high prices in both instances.

The idea, then, that the Chiefs did not know the clock was ticking on their need to pay a foundational player at a rate that isn’t even astronomical—if the rumors of Jones wanting $20 million or so annually—is ridiculous. It’s knowing your roof needs repaired in two years and then spending thousands for new paint, tree removal, hardwood flooring, and new windows—only to then balk to years later at having to pay for a new roof. You get the point.

At this point, Chris Jones deserves anything and everything he wants. If holding out will get it, he should do it. If it takes public threats to bring the Chiefs to the table, he should do it. If there’s any move that hastens a fair offer from the Chiefs, he should do it.

And if the Chiefs somehow fail to recognize and adequately compensate a foundational player, Jones shouldn’t be afraid to do what it takes to find a team who will do so. He certainly deserves it. He deserves everything.

Next. Ranking the greatest Chiefs linebackers ever. dark