Seeking a contract in the Aaron Donald range, Jones has seen the Chiefs push for a deal more in line with the recently established second tier of the defensive tackle market. Daron Payne, Dexter Lawrence, Jeffery Simmons and Quinnen Williams all signed for between $22.5MM and $24MM per year, but Jones has been resolute as he stays away. The Chiefs are unable to waive the $50K-per-day fines Jones has incurred, separating this from Nick Bosa‘s holdout. On a rookie contract, Bosa’s fines can be waived. Jones has lost more than $1.5MM already but has hinted at a holdout extending into the regular season.
The Chiefs have parted ways with a number of defensive regulars in recent years, moving on from the likes of Marcus Peters, Justin Houston, Tyrann Mathieu and Frank Clark. The team has prioritized Jones in the past, franchise-tagging him and reaching an extension in 2020. Jones, 28, will count on the Chiefs folding, as their pass rush will obviously take a hit without him. But as we move close to the regular season, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes the sides are not close on terms.
It still seems difficult to envision Jones missing out on game checks, but this process has already gone on far longer than expected. The Chiefs have, however, come out against trading the All-Pro D-tackle. Regarding another well-known Chief, Reiter is considered likely to end up on the team’s practice squad, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets.
The Chiefs will likely enter into extension talks with Creed Humphrey when the Pro Bowler becomes eligible in 2024, but they are also retaining their Super Bowl LIV and Super Bowl LV center starter. Reiter, 31, played for the Dolphins in 2021 but did not see any action for the Chiefs this season. The Chiefs cut Shelton after training camp but kept the veteran defensive tackle around on their practice squad. Shelton, 29, played in one game for the Super Bowl champions this season and will be set to collect a second Super Bowl ring; his first came in 2018 with the Patriots.
Allen, 28, put his track and field career on pause to attempt a football comeback, and the two-time Olympic 110-meter hurdle finalist resided on the Eagles’ practice squad all season. While the Paris Games are not until 2024, Allen ran 2022’s top 110 hurdle time (12.84 seconds) — which doubled as the third-fastest time in history — and will be on the radar to claim his first world championship in the event. This year’s World Track and Field Championships are slated for Aug. 19-27 in Budapest, so it will be interesting to see if Allen puts track aside for the time being or if the Eagles greenlight dual participation. The Bears did so for long jumper/wide receiver Marquise Goodwin in 2021, but that was for an Olympic Trials competition that did not conflict with training camp.
Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s AFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Tuesday marked the day teams were forced to cut down from 85 to 80 players. Here are the moves teams made made to reach the new maximum. Players who land on the reserve/PUP or reserve/NFI list must miss at least the first four regular-season games.
As Pittsburgh rolls into the post-Roethlisberger era, they are in the less than common situation of having four drafted quarterbacks on the roster. Mind you, the Steelers did not originally draft Mitchell Trubisky, but the point is that while most teams’ third- and/or fourth-string quarterbacks tend to be undrafted long-shots, every quarterback on Pittsburgh’s roster had draft capital invested in them. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic gave a breakdown this weekend of where each of these quarterbacks has slotted through spring practices.
Pittsburgh acquired Trubisky in free agency this offseason after also considering then-free agents Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston. Despite the hole left behind center, the Steelers never seemed to consider trade options such as Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo and made it known early that they were not going to acquire Deshaun Watson. Trubisky signed a reasonable two-year deal to compete for the starting job in Pittsburgh after spending last season as Josh Allen‘s backup in Buffalo.
Trubisky saw all of his work this spring come with the first-team offense, throwing almost solely to Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Pat Freiermuth. Not only did he only work with the first-team, he was the only quarterback to work with the first-team receivers and offensive line combination. Trubisky appears to be a good fit with offensive coordinator Matt Canada‘s motion-heavy offense. Regardless of whether or not this is a clear indication of who will start Week 1, Trubisky is in the mindset that he will win the job saying, “I’m preparing to be a starter. I feel like, no matter what position you’re in, that’s the way you should prepare.”
The quarterback taking snaps with the second-team is not who most would assume. Third-year Steeler Mason Rudolph is currently the second-string quarterback. The former third-round draft pick has started 10 games over his career (eight in his rookie season) with limited success. Despite the potential for him to settle in as someone who had their chance and watched it pass by, Rudolph reportedly “looked the best of the four quarterbacks” this spring. Rudolph is a meticulous worker and preparer and threw the most consistent ball with the biggest body in the group. While many considered him to be nothing more than a camp body, Rudolph put himself in the quarterback conversation, even if it will require some failures from Trubisky and Pickett to get him to the top of the depth chart. “This is the best opportunity I’ve had in four years,” Rudolph told Kaboly. “I am excited, and I look forward to competing.”
Working as the third-string quarterback this spring has been rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett. Head coach Mike Tomlin and Canada both offered that their current snap distribution is based solely on seniority, with Pickett falling behind Trubisky and Rudolph despite the possibility that he may be the most talented of the bunch. The idea is for Pickett to take the time this spring “to learn how to be a pro,” getting comfortable with the scheme and playbook now so that he can focus on competing for his depth chart spot in the summer. Luckily for Pickett, he has a bit of a leg up in terms of the language of the playbook with some familiarity from the time Canada recruited Pickett to Pitt. Pickett didn’t have too many snaps fewer than Trubisky or Rudolph, but his third-string status had him throwing to a very different receiver group. Pickett said he was “trying to be the best pro (he) can be,” calling this spring “100 percent successful.”
Lastly on the roster is rookie seventh-round draft pick Chris Oladokun. Oladokun transferred from South Florida to Samford to South Dakota State throughout his college career, spending that whole time outside of consistent Power 5 football. According to Kaboly, it showed, as Oladokun “looked like a guy who didn’t get many reps and came from a small college.” Oladokun is a project and his dearth of playing time reflected that, with Oladokun pointing out the importance of staying “locked in” mentally. The benefit of Oladokun’s lowly roster status is that he gets plenty of exclusive time working with David Corley, the assistant to quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan. Whether or not Oladokun ever competes for starting snaps in Pittsburgh, his dedicated time with Corley will foster benefits throughout the future of his career.
For now, the spring depth chart reflects the level of experience, just as Tomlin and Canada have intended. Based on the amount of time Trubisky has had with the first-team, it’s hard to imagine anyone else starting behind center in Week 1 at Cincinnati. Though, with Rudolph coming into his own and the talented rookie, Pickett, hot on their heels, it’s anyone’s guess who the Bengals will face in their season opener.