NFL Rumors: Chiefs optimism over Chris Jones deal is “growing”

Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

Next season, the Kansas City Chiefs will attempt to become the first NFL team to three-peat as Super Bowl champions. While the offseason to-do list is long, one priority stands above the rest. The Chiefs need to make sure Chris Jones is back in Kansas City.

One potential solution is the franchise tag, but the Chiefs plan to use it on L'Jarius Snead. Jones initially held out of the Chiefs' season opener in 2023 before the two sides agreed on a one-year contract. Now, the goal is to find common ground on a more substantial agreement. The Chiefs have exclusive negotiating rights with Jones until March 11. One has to believe Kansas City is working hard within that timeframe.

According to Nate Taylor and Dianna Russini of The Athletic, there is "growing optimism" within the Chiefs organization that a deal will happen. Kansas City released Marquez Valdes-Scantling earlier this week to create more cap space for Jones, who is expected to command $30 million annually. That would make him the NFL's third-highest-paid defensive player, behind San Francisco's Nick Bosa and Los Angeles' Aaron Donald.

'Growing optimism' Chiefs and Chris Jones agree to contract

It's difficult to overstate Jones' importance to the Chiefs organization. Aside from Patrick Mahones, he is probably the team's most valuable piece. Jones led Kansas City with 10.5 sacks last season, registering 30 tackles and 29 QB hits. He was the leader of the NFL's No. 2 overall defense — a defense that carried Kansas City through several atypical offensive lulls in 2023.

Jones turned it up in the postseason, and especially in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs don't two-peat without the constant pressure Jones applied to Brock Purdy in the second half. Jones laid two hits on Purdy and tallied four tackles in the big game.

While there is pressure on the Chiefs to add more supportive talent around Mahomes on offense, Kansas City plainly cannot afford to let Jones walk. Without him, the defense crumbles. The Chiefs' offense tends to get the headlines, but it's impossible to win at the highest level without an above-average defense. The Chiefs, under Steve Spagnuolo, tend to be elite on that side of the football.

At 29 years old, Jones is smack in the middle of his prime. He still has a lot left in the tank after eight years in the Chiefs' lineup. With three championship rings in his collection, Jones is every bit a franchise legend. He's a Chiefs legacy. Letting him walk would reflect poorly on the front office. Nobody has earned it more than Jones.

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