Chris Jones risking injury ahead of Chiefs' playoff run is painfully ironic

We're not sure who's in charge of the financial decision-making here.

Dec 25, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (95) is
Dec 25, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (95) is / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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Before I begin, I must say that I will always love Chris Jones the human being and the football player. He will have his name forever enshrined in the Ring of Honor not long after he retires from the NFL. But there appears to be an inconsistency in his logic with how he and his representatives (the Katz brothers) conducted themselves when it came to their business decisions this season.

Let's start from the beginning. Jones and his team chose to hold out and miss the beginning of training camp. He ended up sitting out the entirety of camp, which he had the right to do, but the cost was around $2M in fines. He also forfeited a $500K workout bonus.

At that point, although a fair number of fans were upset, it was still the preseason and we all knew that Jones would be in game shape once he reported. Then came September 6, the day before the Chiefs' first regular season game against the Detroit Lions, and Jones was still holding out. By that point, there was a 100% chance that he would miss a regular season game due to his holdout. Suddenly things had shifted.

Jones and his team made a grave mistake at this point. They assumed the Chiefs would buckle and meet their demands, but Kansas City never budged. Instead of saving face and reporting in time to play in Week 1, he decided to extend his holdout into the regular season to avoid risking an injury without a long-term contract.

Chris Jones's decision-making process makes no sense when you put the pieces together this year.

Not only did Jones not play in the game, but he showed up to Arrowhead and sat in a suite. He sat between his two agents and watched his team open the season with a one-point loss in primetime to the Lions.

The following Monday, Jones reported and signed an updated 1-year contract, which allowed him to recoup the money he'd forfeited by holding out so long—as long as he could hit certain benchmarks.

Heading into Sunday's regular-season finale, the Chiefs had to play a meaningless game against the Chargers. They're locked into the #3 seed no matter what. Since this game meant nothing for the playoff standings, stars such as Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Rashee Rice didn't suit up to avoid injury.

Do you know who not only suited up but played dozens of snaps? Chris Jones. Why did he play? To hopefully rack up at least half a sack to collect a $1.25M bonus, which he was able to do. He needed 10 sacks to earn that performance bonus but only had 9.5 on the season heading into Week 18.

Here's where the inconsistent logic comes into play: Jones wanted to risk an injury by playing against the Chargers in order to get a $1.25M bonus and the team obliged. Yet by sitting out the Week 1 game, he gave up $1.083M. That doesn't make any sense.

First, playing in Week 1 has the same risks as playing in Week 18. He would risk suffering a significant injury, thus hindering his ability to sign a long-term contract this offseason. If he valued long-term security so much, why would he risk a major injury by playing in an inconsequential match today? It's possible that him sitting out the Lions game was more about sending a message than avoiding injury, but that isn't a much better look for him.

If he sat out both Week 1 and Week 18, fair enough as he would be avoiding a long-term disaster in both instances. But that's not what happened. He played in the meaningless game and sat out the one that wasn't meaningless.

In Week 1, he hurt his team by sitting out to avoid risking his long-term health, forfeiting over $1M in salary by doing so. In Week 18, he decided to play, risking his long-term health and the Chiefs' ability to win in the postseason, to earn a $1.25M bonus.

The logic is not consistent. Jones's camp wanted him to play it safe in Week 1, so he sat out. He then wanted to risk his health by playing in a trivial game today to earn a bonus, which was around the same amount of money he sacrificed (at the time) by boycotting Week 1.

Thankfully, Jones finished the day healthy. He got his sack and never played another down, so he may be fine this postseason. I understand that his teammates were happy for him (as they should be), but the Chiefs were fortunate to avoid such a catastrophe. After all, the Chiefs watched several players leave with injuries on Sunday including left tackle Wanya Morris, who left the game with a concussion, right tackle Jawaan Taylor, safety Deon Bush, and more. It's also notable that Travis Kelce had a milestone to hit as well but sat out the entire game.

In the end, I'm very happy for Chris Jones. I genuinely hope that he signs the largest contract he possibly can with a boatload of guaranteed money this offseason, whether or not it's with the Chiefs. But he made decisions in Week 1 as well as Week 18 that were both selfish. Was the adjusted contract he signed just after Week 1 not on the table before that game? If it was, it would be an even worse look for him.

Again, I love Chris Jones and always will. He's been an amazing player and an even better teammate/person for the majority of his NFL career. Anyone accusing me of hating him or rooting against him is mistaken. I hope he makes as much money as he can for himself and his family. I'm just pointing out the inconsistent decision-making on display this season that could have easily hurt the Chiefs and himself even more than it already has.

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