The Chiefs need to accept Chris Jones is going to be expensive

Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

If the Kansas City Chiefs want to keep Chris Jones, they better be ready to pay up.

The Kansas City Chiefs have two huge contract extensions rapidly approaching on the horizon: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and defensive end Chris Jones. Mahomes is the greatest player on the Chiefs and arguably the best player in football at any position. His contract extension will be record-setting, as the Chiefs and his representation have begun negotiations on a new deal.

Though paying Mahomes what he’s worth is a top priority, it’s not as pressing of an issue as it is with Jones. Mahomes is only entering his fourth year in the league and Kansas City has just given the former first-round pick out of Texas Tech University his fifth-year option. Simply put, Mahomes will get paid sometime in the next year or so to reset the quarterbacking market.

As for Jones, he was drafted a year earlier by the Chiefs out of Mississippi State University in the second round. Despite being arguably the best defensive player on the reigning Super Bowl champions, Kansas City is up against it a bit in terms of putting a long-term deal together for the Pro Bowl defensive tackle. Do the Chiefs have the plan in place to get both signed long-term?

The Kansas City Chiefs must understand Chris Jones’ return won’t come cheap.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Thursday, “While Chris Jones hasn’t signed his franchise tender, he’s kept in touch with the Chiefs as they hold virtual meetings, I’m told. Not much traction on contract front but both sides have until July 15. Market for high-end DTs is $20-plus-million per year.”

If the Chiefs cannot reach a long-term extension with Jones in the next month and a half, he will have to play on the franchise tag in 2020. Not having the fifth-year option for him to play on this season has hyper-accelerated the Chris Jones payment plan. Oh, he’ll get paid, and probably by the Chiefs, but it will not be at anything close to a team-friendly discount. His market value is too high.

As with all his Kansas City teammates, Jones has participated in all the team’s virtual meetings these last few months. When his position coach Brendan Daly was asked about his star player’s contract negations, he told USA TODAY Sports’ Charles Goldman the following.

“Chris [Jones] and I have had a great relationship and I’ve had a couple of conversations with him over the course of the offseason here,” Daly said. “I’m not going to get into the details of that. Honestly, you know, he’s got his contract situation going on and I trust that Brett Veach and his staff are handling that side of things and I just kind of leave it there.”

Despite almost always up against the salary cap, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has done a marvelous job navigating it, especially after some of the landmines his predecessor John Dorsey haphazardly put in front of him. There is a reason Veach is viewed as one of the smarter general managers in football. He will find a way to ensure Jones AND Mahomes get paid handsomely.

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But deep down, we all know the truth here. If Veach is forced to pick one of these stars to sign to a long-term deal, it’s Mahomes. Anything other than that would be a fireable offense. We know Mahomes and the Chiefs will get something worked out in the next year or so. Though we remain optimistic, the clock is ticking on Jones getting his long-term extension to avoid playing on the tag.

If the Chiefs want to keep Jones going forward, it’ll cost them at least $20 million annually.