Chris Jones Wants To Remain With Chiefs

FEBRUARY 16: The Chiefs have officially “picked up the option on” Jones’ contract, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. As mentioned below, the move was expected, as it allows Kansas City the option to franchise tag Jones moving forward. The move also pays out $4.25MM of incentives that Jones earned over the 2023 NFL season.

Tagging Jones still doesn’t appear to be the preferred route after he was previously tagged in 2020, and should the team choose not to exercise that option, Jones will be set to test free agency.

FEBRUARY 15: Chris Jones is currently slated to be one of the top defenders in the 2024 free agent class. Kansas City is aiming to retain him, however, and the desire for a new deal appears to be mutual.

When speaking at the team’s Super Bowl parade, Jones made it clear he intends to remain with the Chiefs for the foreseeable future (video link). His remarks carry less weight than tangible progress in contract talks, of course, but they point to a continued path existing for a new deal to be worked out. Finalizing an agreement is among the team’s top priorities, something head coach Andy Reid has confirmed.

“Yeah, listen, I think [general manager Brett] Veach has said it before — we’d love to have him back,” Reid said on Wednesday (video link). “They’ve just got to work all that out. But I think the effort will be there probably on both parts to try to get something done.”

Jones’ contract holdout left him out of the lineup for Week 1 of the 2023 season as he attempted to land a long-term deal at or near the level of Aaron Donald in terms of compensation. The Chiefs aimed for a lower AAV, and the parties ultimately reached a one-year agreement which left a franchise tag as an option for 2024. Such a move would come as a surprise, though, since it would cost more than $32MM due to Jones previously being tagged in 2020.

Talks with Jones on a deal which would provide multi-year clarity will, of course, be complicated by the fact L’Jarius Sneed is also set to reach the open market. The latter has proven himself to be a key member of one of the league’s best cornerback tandems while playing alongside 2022 first-rounder Trent McDuffie. Sneed could command a lucrative long-term pact with the Chiefs or another team if he were to reach free agency, but Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda notes the franchise tag could be in play in his case. The CB tag is slated to cost roughly $18.4MM in 2024, but Pauline writes there was chatter at the Senior Bowl Kansas City could use it to at least buy time to continue contract talks.

The Chiefs are currently mid-pack in terms of projected cap space, though new much of the team’s available resources will be needed to re-sign Jones and/or Sneed. Cost-shedding moves will take place in Kansas City in the near future, but the offseason will be defined in large part by the progress of talks with the two defensive stalwarts.

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