Will Carlos Dunlap be a package deal with Chris Jones?

You have to wonder if Chiefs Kingdom will see both Dunlap and Jones return around the same time.

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles
Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Despite the ongoing absence of Chris Jones from St. Joseph, Missouri so far this summer, having missed every ounce of this year's training camp so far, the truth is that Kansas City Chiefs fans can expect to see Jones sooner than later. After all, the defensive lineman has to report at some point in the near future.

Currently, the Chiefs and Jones are at odds with one another over a contractual dispute. Both parties are interested in a long-term contract extension, one that will keep Jones in Kansas City, for the rest of his career. However, the cost of that extension is what his reps are arguing with the Chiefs front office about, and to date, there's been a lack of progress to get him into camp.

The absence of Jones in camp is notable, but the truth is that unless he pulls a Le'Veon Bell (and refuses to play this season without the security he wants), then Jones will eat crow and report back to K.C. in time to play sometime soon. Between fines that will continue to add up and a need on his part to actually play enough to make his current contract lapse, Jones will suit up for the Chiefs in 2023.

You have to wonder if Chiefs Kingdom will see both Carlos Dunlap and Chris Jones return to the Chiefs around the same time.

While the Chiefs are waiting on Jones to return to camp at whatever point in the next few weeks that he selects, it's also an important question to consider whether or not Carlos Dunlap might be joining him.

The Chiefs signed Dunlap a year ago to a one-year deal in free agency in what became a win-win deal for both sides. The Chiefs were able to round out their depth chart at defensive end with a solid veteran, a player without a real weak spot who can provide valuable depth and security while also mentoring the team's younger players. For Dunlap, he tasted the victory of a Super Bowl for the first time after spending years with Cincinnati and Seattle.

These days, Dunlap is technically a free agent with only weeks to go until the regular season. Other pass rushers and defensive linemen have been finding deals for the 2023 season in the last several days—including Yannick Ngakoue, Justin Houston, Trey Flowers, Shelby Harris—but Dunlap remains "available." Or is he?

Earlier this offseason, Dunlap spoke with Forbes about free agency and his plans and he stated he was up for returning and that the Chiefs felt the same. He also called it a "waiting game." Is that because perhaps there's already an agreement in place to pay him once Jones gets his extension?

If Jones has any real leverage, it's because the Chiefs need to sign Jones to a long-term deal in order to free up money for this season to add a piece or two in case the need arises. That includes a player like Dunlap outside at a position in which pieces are either inexperienced, injured, or lost for a stretch due to suspension (Charles Omenihu).

Dunlap could be an important addition for this season, but if the Chiefs are going to add him, the Kingdom might not see him join the roster officially until another big presence up front is also locked in for the long haul.