No surprises here, but the Chiefs are going to put the franchise tag on star DT Chris Jones, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com was first to report (via Twitter). We had previously heard that KC was going to use the tag on Jones if the two sides could not come to terms on a long-term pact prior to the deadline to use the tag, but the Chiefs acted quickly to make sure Jones will not hit the open market (today is the first day teams can officially use the franchise and transition tags).
Of course, Kansas City wants to keep Jones in the fold for the long haul, and Jones obviously wants the security of a long-term pact, so player and team will continue negotiating. In 2019, the Mississippi State product continued to excel at getting to the quarterback, recording nine sacks in just 13 games. He was not quite as effective in terms of stopping the run, but his pass rush abilities more than make up for that.
The franchise tag value for defensive linemen is $16.1MM, but last year, Jones held out in hopes of securing a deal north of $20MM per year, and as he is coming off his first Pro Bowl campaign, his price tag won’t be dropping. He abilities and youth — he will turn 26 in July — make him one of the most attractive DTs in the game.
But the Chiefs are already paying Frank Clark over $20MM per year, and they are planning to sign QB Patrick Mahomes to a record-setting extension this offseason. As such, Jones could become a part of a tag-and-trade, though that sounds like more of a last resort at this point.
However, other players currently on the Super Bowl champions’ roster could be on the trade block. Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says that the Chiefs are looking to slash salary and the scuttlebutt at the scouting combine is that they are open for business (Twitter link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.