Chris Jones (Mississippi St.)

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/6/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Chiefs Place Chris Jones On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Chiefs had a staffer recently test positive for COVID-19 and may be observing some fallout. They placed Chris Jones on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.

Jones will be forced to isolate for five days and, unless his close contact with the person who tested positive came before Wednesday, will miss the Chiefs’ Week 9 game against the Panthers.

Chiefs VP of Sports Medicine and Performance Rick Burkholder tested positive for the coronavirus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. With Burkholder serving as a Chiefs trainer, it is possible the team will place more players on its COVID-19 list ahead of Week 9.

Jones has not tested positive, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter), but instead profiles as a close contact. This close contact may well have been separate from Burkholder’s positive test, with Albert Breer of SI.com tweeting Jones’ encounter with a COVID-positive person occurred outside the Chiefs’ facility.

The Chiefs gave Jones a four-year, $80MM extension this summer. The NFL’s record holder for consecutive games with a sack, Jones has anchored Kansas City’s defensive line for years. The fifth-year defensive tackle has 4.5 sacks this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Chiefs’ Extensions

Although the Rams once cut Kurt Warner less than three years after he won the second of his two MVP awards, the notion of the Chiefs releasing Patrick Mahomes down the road sounds insane. But the contract categorized by some as team-friendly offers Mahomes extensive protection against a release for the foreseeable future.

The 10-year, $450MM deal — which ties Mahomes to the Chiefs through 2031 — contains lucrative buyout numbers, with Albert Breer of SI.com relaying that even as late as 2024, it would cost the Chiefs an astounding $78.4MM to get out of the contract. A year later, the buyout number still comes in north of $40MM — at $41.95MM, per Breer.

While Mahomes’ record re-up does not lead the league in fully guaranteed money, these buyout numbers and the roster bonus structure do not put the 24-year-old superstar in much danger of missing out on money owed — as long as he’s attached to this extension.

Mahomes may have set the market, but Ian Rapoport notes that Deshaun Watson is expected to seek a shorter-term deal in order to maximize his value (video link). A four-year deal would give the Texans quarterback a good chance to sign another extension before he turns 30. Although Mahomes’ contract features unprecedented security on the back end of his deal, Joel Corry of CBS Sports envisions the lower-end (by franchise-QB standards) payouts early in the contract will not make other passers want to sign similarly structured extensions. Both Jared Goff ($84MM) and Carson Wentz ($81MM) will out-earn Mahomes ($63MM) over the first three years of their respective deals.

Mahomes’ 10-year agreement undoubtedly helped the Chiefs extend Chris Jones on Tuesday. Kansas City’s dominant defensive tackle signed a four-year, $80MM pact, with negotiations ramping up after Mahomes’ deal was finalized. Jones received $37.6MM fully guaranteed; that will be due by March 2021. Through two years of the deal, Jones will have pocketed $55.75MM, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. The $5MM in incentives are $1.25MM-per-year, sack-based escalators, Florio adds.

Kansas City became the first team to give two defensive linemen — Jones and Frank Clark — $20MM-AAV deals. Of the Chiefs’ three $20MM-per-year players, Jones was the only one to negotiate a four-year contract. This would make him eligible to hit the market before he turns 30.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs, Chris Jones Agree To Deal

Chris Jones is on the verge of a brand new contract. The Chiefs have agreed to a fresh four-year deal with their star defensive tackle, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jones is scheduled to earn up to $85MM over the life of the deal, including $60MM in guarantees, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Jones will receive $37MM guaranteed at signing, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets, noting that this is a four-year, $80MM deal that features another $5MM available via incentives. Among interior D-linemen, Jones now sits third in guaranteed money and fourth in fully guaranteed funds. 

This year’s franchise tag extension deadline is largely quiet due to fiscal uncertainty, but Jones proved to be an exception. Many doubted whether Jones would hit his desired $20MM+ average annual value demand, but his camp got it done. Jones’ deal ended up coming in just south of DeForest Buckner‘s recent $21MM-per-year Colts pact.

Earlier this month, Jones threatened a holdout via Twitter, referencing Le’Veon Bell‘s infamous standoff with the Steelers. In reality, a holdout would have been extremely risky for the 25-year-old. A season-long holdout could have delayed Jones’ entry into free agency and cost him roughly $1MM per game – his tender was valued at $16.1MM for the 2020 season.

Last year, Jones graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 ranked interior defensive lineman in the league and notched nine sacks. In 2018, when he saw more time on the edge, he registered 15.5 sacks. He’s one of the best IDLs in the game today, and he’s still approaching his prime seasons.

Currently, the defensive tackle market is led by Aaron Donald ($22.5MM/year). Meanwhile, Bears superstar Khalil Mack ($23MM AAV) leads all defensive players in average annual value.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Chiefs’ Chris Jones, Bengals’ A.J. Green

And then there were three. With Broncos safety Justin Simmons and Buccaneers edge rusher Shaquil Barrett agreeing to sign their franchise tenders, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, and Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue are the only franchised players whose statuses remain uncertain.

As Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports, there may be some progress on the Jones front (video link). We recently heard that talks between Jones and the Chiefs had stalled, and that Jones is prepared to hold out until he gets the contract he wants. But Fowler says player and team have finally resumed negotiations, which is a big deal in and of itself considering that there had been radio silence for months.

However, there is still plenty of work to be done. Though Jones has been reportedly aiming for a deal with an average annual value of about $20MM, Fowler reports that KC will have to pony up “well over” the $20MM figure if it wants to get an extension completed. As good as Jones is, it’s unclear if the two sides will be able to bridge the gap in advance of the July 15 deadline.

Unlike Jones and the Chiefs, Green and the Bengals have discussed an extension recently. It doesn’t sound as if those discussions have been particularly fruitful, however, as Fowler notes there is not much optimism regarding a multi-year contract

Green has indicated previously that he will not hold out if he does not get a long-term deal of his liking, and given the new CBA’s rules for players holding out after having signed a contract as a veteran, that makes sense. A Jones holdout would be much more likely, as Jones just finished his rookie contract and has not yet signed a pact as a veteran player.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs’ Chris Jones Threatening Holdout?

On Tuesday night, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo estimated that Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones wouldn’t bite on an extension worth anything less than $20MM per year. Moments later, his gut feeling was confirmed by Jones himself.

Or I won’t play,” Jones tweeted. “[Le’Veon Bell] told me about this.”

Jones, of course, is referencing Bell’s messy final year with the Steelers. In 2018, the Steelers placed a second straight tag on Bell worth $14.5MM. Bell, meanwhile, wanted a long-term deal to reflect his combined value as an elite running back and a WR2 caliber receiver. When he didn’t get what he wanted, he held out for the entire season.

The following year, Bell got a five-year, $52.5MM deal from the Jets with $35MM guaranteed. It was a decent-sized deal for sure, but still shy of Bell’s original asking price and short of the throne for the league’s highest-paid RB mantle. Also, Bell lost out on a full year of salary.

If Jones stays away from the Chiefs and holds out during the regular season, he’d be losing more than $1MM per game. Still, the 25-year-old seems dead set on getting the deal he wants. Last year, Jones graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 ranked interior defensive lineman in the league and notched nine sacks. In 2018, when he saw more time on the edge, he registered 15.5 sacks. Jones understands his free market value and he says he won’t settle for less, or risk catastrophic injury in the interim.

Currently, the defensive tackle market is led by Aaron Donald ($22.5MM/year) and DeForest Buckner ($21MM/year). Meanwhile, Bears superstar Khalil Mack ($23MM AAV) leads all defensive players in average annual value.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Progress In Contract Talks Between Chiefs, Chris Jones

Contract negotiations between the Chiefs and star DT Chris Jones still haven’t gained much traction, per James Palmer of the NFL Network (video link). Jones, who is one of five franchise-tagged players yet to sign his franchise tender, did not participate in Kansas City’s virtual offseason program.

Jones was also pushing for a long-term deal last year, and he skipped the 2019 offseason program in an effort to make that happen, but he did not get his wish. Nothing of note transpired on the contract front throughout the 2019 campaign, and Jones was hit with the franchise tag in February. He expressed frustration with the process about a week later.

“It’s like a mix of emotions,” Jones said. “Because you figure, you know, after four years, you do everything the right way, within the team way, you try to stay under the line, out of trouble, and be a good citizen for a team and for the city, you expect to be rewarded. … It’s like, ‘Man, what else you want me to do?’”

Those comments were made before COVID-19 sent the entire country into lockdown, and the pandemic has brought already slow negotiations to a standstill. Nonetheless, the Chiefs have consistently maintained that they want to get a deal done with Jones, and Palmer reports that nothing has changed in that regard. The team has until July 15 to work out an extension, and it hopes to have a better idea of what the 2021 salary cap will look like prior to that date so it can make a well-informed decision on Jones.

In addition to the Jones talks, the team is also discussing what will surely be an otherworldly contract for QB Patrick Mahomes, but there is no imminent deadline on the Mahomes negotiations. Jones, whose franchise tender would pay him $16.1MM in 2020, has been pushing for a deal with an AAV of about $20MM, so even if the Chiefs do get a little clarity from the league before July 15, they will have a lot of work to do and not much time in which to do it.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Chiefs, Chris Jones

While the Chiefs have begun negotiations with Patrick Mahomes, they are moving slower with their franchise-tagged player. Chris Jones and the Chiefs have not engaged in any extension talks since the Super Bowl champions used their tag in late February, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Jones has not participated in the Chiefs’ virtual offseason program and has no plans to do so, Rapoport adds. The fifth-year defensive tackle has kept in touch since being tagged, per ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, but this is a slow-moving process (Twitter link). It is also in line with the slow pace of last year’s negotiations.

The former second-round pick skipped Kansas City’s 2019 offseason program, though he reported to training camp. But the sides did not make much progress last year, and Jones played out his rookie deal. He is now attached to a $16.1MM tag for a team that already has a $20MM-plus-AAV defensive lineman (Frank Clark) and has begun talks for what will almost certainly be a record-setting extension with Mahomes.

GM Brett Veach said in April the team would like to extend Jones, and franchise tag negotiations often move slowly due to the four-plus-month gap between the deadline to apply tags and the deadline to extend tagged players. Jones, understandably, is not exactly thrilled about his current arrangement.

It’s like a mix of emotions,” Jones said in March“Because you figure, you know, after four years, you do everything the right way, within the team way, you try to stay under the line, out of trouble, and be a good citizen for a team and for the city, you expect to be rewarded. … It’s like, ‘Man, what else you want me to do?’”

Last year, Jones sought a deal north of $20MM per year. The Chiefs wanted to keep the price tag below that number. With DeForest Buckner having now agreed to a $21MM-per-year with the Colts, Jones may have an even higher price floor. That will be difficult for the Chiefs to accommodate. Five teams are paying a pass rusher north of $20MM on average; none of them have another pass rusher more than $12MM per year. This will be a key situation to monitor through the July 15 deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Working To Extend Chris Jones

The Chiefs are busy preparing for the NFL Draft, but Chris Jones‘ contract remains an offseason priority for them. On Thursday, GM Brett Veach made it clear that he wants to keep the defensive tackle for the long haul. 

[RELATED: Chiefs To Re-Sign Breeland]

The deadline to get a deal done is July 15. So there’s a lot of time to continue dialogue and to work on something with Chris,” Veach said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). “But, we certainly are going to work to retain him. Not just for next year, but for the future.”

Earlier this year, the Chiefs applied the franchise tag to cuff Jones for one year at a $16.1MM rate. Still, the Mississippi State product has continued to push for a long-term deal. Fresh off the heels of his first Pro Bowl nod, he’s not exactly thrilled about the prospect of a one-year contract.

“It’s like a mix of emotions,” Jones said in March. “Because you figure, you know, after four years, you do everything the right way, within the team way, you try to stay under the line, out of trouble, and be a good citizen for a team and for the city, you expect to be rewarded….It’s like, ‘Man, what else you want me to do?’”

The Chiefs would like to keep Jones for years to come, but they’re limited by their cap flexibility. The Sammy Watkins helped them get to just $5MM in space and Jones is aiming for something in the $20MM/year range.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Haven’t Made Offer To Chris Jones

The Chiefs have yet to make a contract offer offer to franchise-tagged defensive tackle Chris Jones, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. The two sides have had talks, but nothing has been put on the table just yet.

By putting the franchise tag on Jones, the Chiefs have him tendered on a one-year, $16.1MM deal. Meanwhile, he’s been pushing for a longer and more lucrative commitment – one that’s worth upwards of $20MM per year. From here, the two sides have until July 15th to work out a long-term deal and, ideally, that’s what the Chiefs want to do, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link) believes. Of course, it’ll come down to numbers, but Schefter’s sense is that the Chiefs are not looking to trade him.

The Chiefs’ have limited flexibility to work with, given the other stars already on the books for 2020 and beyond. They did carve out a little bit of space by revising Sammy Watkins‘ contract, but that only left them with about $5MM in breathing room.

Last year, Jones held out from the Chiefs in hopes of getting the deal he wanted. Now that he’s coming off of his first Pro Bowl campaign, you can expect his camp to crank things up a notch.

“It’s like a mix of emotions,” Jones said after he was tagged this year. “Because you figure, you know, after four years, you do everything the right way, within the team way, you try to stay under the line, out of trouble, and be a good citizen for a team and for the city, you expect to be rewarded….It’s like, ‘Man, what else you want me to do?’”

Jones, who won’t turn 26 into July, wants to get paid one way or another.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.