Packers Urged to Pursue Trade for $20 Million Holdout Pass-Rusher

Coach Matt LaFleur and GM Brian Gutekunst

Getty Coach Matt LaFleur and GM Brian Gutekunst of the Packers

At 24.9 years old on average, the Packers are the youngest team in the NFL after rosters were cut down to 53 players this week. They have a new quarterback, Jordan Love, taking over for 39-year-old franchise legend Aaron Rodgers, and are carrying 14 rookies on the roster.

There is real excitement around the team as it is constructed, even if there’s no chance this group is a Super Bowl contender. A winning record and a playoff spot would be a big win here.

This does not quite appear to be the ideal landing spot for a disgruntled 29-year-old holdout defensive lineman who is at the peak of his career. Nonetheless, Bleacher Report is urging the Packers to get themselves involved in trade talks for the holdout in question—Chiefs star Chris Jones—as a way to fast track the young bunch’s development.

Jones Had a Career Year

Jones would be quite a coup for the Packers, as he is coming off a career year with 15.5 sacks on his way to an All-Pro selection and Super Bowl title. Jones notched two sacks in the AFC Championship Game win over the Bengals last January.

The Packers have talent on defense, and have been dead-focused on bringing in players to bolster that side of the ball in the draft. But talent has yet to translate into performance, and this week, The Ringer ranked the Packers 22nd on the list of projected best defenses for the upcoming season.

It would make things easier for Love if the Packers’ D went from meh to magnificent.

Writer Brad Gagnon envisioned the Bears and Lions also being in the mix for Jones, which would bring a fearsome sackmaster to the NFC North, and would mean Love potentially would get to know Jones all too well. Wrote Gagnon:

Yes, the NFC North sure makes a lot of sense for Jones. And if there’s interest from Chicago and Detroit, the Green Bay Packers may have to get in on the arms race.

This team still has the talent to contend if the Jordan Love project succeeds, and there’s plenty of experience on defense. The problem is that’s not the case up front on defense, where key cogs Rashan Gary, Preston Smith and De’Vondre Campbell all play off the line.

Chiefs GM: ‘No Intentions’ of Making Jones Trade

Certainly, Jones trade speculation is a natural offshoot of his holdout. He is under contract with the Chiefs, in the final year of a four-year, $80 million deal. Jones would like a salary bump and more years added to his deal, something that would put him more in line with the top-paid defensive tackle in the league, Aaron Donald of the Rams, who signed a restructured contract last year worth $95 million over three years.

If the Chiefs have no desire to go that high, and Jones has no desire to return to the team until they do, then a trade appears the only plausible outcome. But Chiefs GM Brett Veach, speaking to The Athletic, vowed not to trade Jones.

“We have no intentions of trading Chris,” Veach told the site. “Since the start of the offseason, Chris has been right at the top of our priorities. Every year, it’s a different scenario and a different dynamic. One of the dynamics this year was the fact that some of the players in that position group didn’t get done until late, so there was a natural holding pattern.”

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