After weeks of speculation, the Kansas City Chiefs appear to have finally made a decision on the future of Pro Bowl DT Chris Jones. Per a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the defending Super Bowl champions will officially place the franchise tag on their 25-year-old star defensive lineman.
The news, as confirmed by the team’s official Twitter accounts, comes as a confirmation of a previous report from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport on the team’s intention to tag Jones back on February 27.
Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach has previously called the fifth-year star a “priority,” but the franchise tag is often met with mixed emotions from the players on the receiving end. During an appearance on “The Herd” with FS1’s Colin Cowherd during the day of Rapoport’s news break, Jones voiced his candid feelings on the airwaves.
“It’s like a mix of emotions because you figure that after four years, you do everything the right way, you try to stay under the lines and out of trouble, be a good citizen for the team and for the city, you expect to be rewarded,” said Jones. “When you’re hit with the franchise tag it can go different ways. You can feel like they’re not valuing you or they’re not valuing what you bring to the table. You can look at it as giving them time to get their horses in a cage and get something together.”
Jones continued, ultimately calling himself the “lucky guy” and citing the business aspect of the decision.
“It’s no hard feelings,” Jones told Cowherd. “It’s the business, but it’s a little hard. It’s like, ‘Damn what else do y’all want me to do?’ I’ve got to go, ‘I can get 30 sacks, 35 sacks to show you all.’ The beautiful thing with the franchise tag is that it can go one of two ways. The team either long-term’s you or they’re going to trade you.”
The decision ultimately caps Jones’ 2020 salary at approximately $15.5 million, a significantly lesser amount than his projected market value of $19.2 million, per Spotrac. However, going the franchise tag route also provides additional control and flexibility to the Chiefs front office in the event they choose to explore a tag-and-trade this offseason.
Multiple analysts, including The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia, the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and Pro Football Focus, have already speculated on how that scenario could play out. The team most commonly connected to Jones has been the Indianapolis Colts, who are among the league leaders in salary cap space with over $66 million (Spotrac).
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