On Sunday, Philip Rivers took the field at Arrowhead Stadium to play what could be his final game in a Los Angeles Chargers uniform. The Kansas City Chiefs emerged from the divisional battle with a 31-21 victory, but the fiery veteran quarterback didn’t go down without a fight.
Early in the first quarter, Rivers was taken down to the ground by Chiefs Pro Bowl DT Chris Jones. Visibly upset by the tie-up, the 38-year-old signal-caller took a jab at the 310-pound lineman before the pair stood to their feet and exchanged words.
Here is a different angle that shows the full takedown by Jones.
After the game, reporters asked Rivers about the incident between him and the Chiefs star defensive lineman.
“That was the first play of the game and I thought my leg was broke but thankfully it wasn’t,” said Rivers. “It was one of those deals where I thought it was a little cheap, just because I didn’t think he had to finish me. It was already called underneath and then he kinda finished me. But again, we talked after the game and even during a little break in the action. Shoot, it’s all good. Some of that is good for me to get me going a little bit.”
Despite his competitive spirit, Rivers’ respect for Jones was evident from his surprising comment regarding his standing among the league’s top defensive lineman.
“What a player he is now. He’s up there, if not one, he’s a close second [among] defensive tackles in the league. He’s a heckuva player.”
Jones Headed Towards a Big Pay Day
Originally drafted by Kansas City in the second round (No. 37 overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft, Jones is playing out the final year of his rookie contract. His current salary cap hit of $1.98 million ranks 54th among all NFL defensive tackles, per Spotrac.
The 25-year-old held out for a portion of training camp in hopes of getting a deal done this past offseason, but nothing came to fruition. As it currently stands, Jones will become an unrestricted free agent after the season with an opportunity to test the free agent market for the first time in his career.
As recently as mid-November, Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt confirmed that both sides have continued to engage in conversations regarding a long-term extension.
“There have been ongoing discussions with Chris’ representatives,” Hunt said. “As I mentioned in the preseason, we are very hopeful that we can extend Chris’ contract and bring him back to Kansas City for many years to come. He is obviously a fantastic player, a great guy in the locker room and we’re glad to have him a part of the Chiefs.”
Over his first four NFL seasons, the Mississippi State alum has compiled 136 total tackles, 33.0 sacks, 20 pass deflections, seven forced fumbles, and a pair of interceptions. His 33.0 sacks are the third-most by any defensive tackle since he entered the NFL in 2016, trailing only the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald (52.0) and Jacksonville Jaguars’ Calais Campbell (39.5).
Given his age, productivity and position, Jones is likely to command an average salary in the $14-20 million range on his next deal. While Donald currently paces the position at $22.5 million per year, the five highest-paid defensive tackles all make in excess of $15 million annually.
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