The free agent defensive tackle would be one of the top players available on this year’s market, but the Chiefs do not plan to let him get there. If they cannot reach an extension agreement by the end of the window to apply franchise tags (March 10), the defending Super Bowl champions will tag Jones, Albert Breer of SI.com notes.
A defensive tackle franchise tag would run the Chiefs approximately $16.3MM. Based on Jones’ per-year asking price, that would be a bargain for Kansas City. Last year, Jones held out in hopes of securing a deal north of $20MM per year. The contract the Chiefs gave Frank Clark after trading for him — five years, $104MM with $63MM guaranteed — represents the most lucrative accord in franchise history. With Jones making his first Pro Bowl a year after setting the NFL record for most consecutive games with a sack, his price point this time around will surely not drop.
That stands to complicate matters for the Chiefs, who will face a difficult task in paying two defensive linemen over $20MM per year and authorizing Mahomes’ record-setting extension. The Chiefs already have two wideouts earning at least $16MM per year, leading to understandable speculation Sammy Watkins will be released to expand on the Chiefs’ $13MM worth of cap space.
Tag-and-trade scenarios for Jones may surface, as the Chiefs were part of tag-and-trade deals for Clark and Dee Ford last year. But Breer expects the standout interior pass rusher to be a Chief next season. Jones, 25, getting to $20MM AAV make him just the second interior defender to hit that mark, joining Aaron Donald. The latter is attached to a $22.5MM-per-year pact, which leads all other inside defenders by more than $5MM annually.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.