Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones held out of training camp and the preseason over his contract situation, hoping to become one of the highest-paid NFL players after a career-best season. However, the absence of an extension has put his status for the regular season in jeopardy.
Jones, age 29, stated in March that he will never play for another franchise again and wants to finish his career with Kansas City. Months later, though, the 6-foot-6 defensive lineman told fans that he intends to drag his holdout into the regular season, not returning until Week 8.
A two-time Super Bowl champion and one of the best defensive players in the NFL, Jones is seeking a new contract that properly reflects his value to Kansas City. He set an NFL record for most consecutive games with a sack (11) and was the most dominant defensive tackle in football over the last four years outside of Aaron Donald.
Jones has already racked up $2 million in fines for missing training camp and Kansas City played him on the reserve/Did Not Report list, enabling them to withhold his game checks until he plays. Just days away from facing the Detroit Lions in the NFL Kickoff Game, it appears the Chiefs are still holding out hope for a resolution that makes everyone happy.
- Chris Jones contract: $28.291 million cap hit in 2023, 2024 free agent
Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Chiefs’ general manager Brett Veach said that he’s recently been in conversations with Jones and the team is hopeful the All-Pro defensive tackle will be on the field in Week 1.
“Certainly hopeful for that. We have been in communication, actually just in the last two days we’ve been in more communication. We’re going to continue to press on and work hard. A lot of respect on both sides of this thing. It’s been well stated how we feel about Chris, and he feels the same way. Again, we’re just going to keep working on this thing. We’re looking forward to next Thursday and hopefully he’s in the lineup, and he’s ready to go.”Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach on contract talks with Chris Jones
Any absence would have a significant impact on the Chiefs’ defense. In 2022, Jones was the only Kansas City defender with double-digit tackles for loss or 15-plus quarterback hits. Additionally, per Pro Football Reference, Jones was the only Chiefs player with double-digit quarterback knockdowns and 30-plus pressures (46) during the regular season.
- Chris Jones stats (2022): 29 quarterback hits, 17 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks
Playing without Jones for any length of time would mean Kansas City is without a player who accounted for 25 percent of its pressures and 28 percent of its sack production from last season. Even if Jones returns ahead of Week 8, his absence could prove costly in Week 1 against one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.