Bleacher Report relayed the live “SportsCenter” news break from ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler, who stated that the Chiefs might “look to gain some short-term salary cap relief by locking up Chris Jones to a multiyear extension” — per B/R’s Joseph Zucker.
This is certainly enticing news for KC fans that still hope to pursue a big-name veteran like wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, a reunion with defensive end Frank Clark, or any other move that requires more cap space in 2023. After all, the Chiefs currently have less than $1 million in available space ($652,557) according to Over the Cap.
Within the Bleacher Report article, Zucker noted that “Jones is in the last year of his deal and has a $28.3 million cap hit for 2023, so a new contract could see that figure lessen.”
Chris Jones Extension on Chiefs’ List of ‘Things to Do’
After the 2023 NFL Draft, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach addressed the idea of a contract extension with Jones, assuring reporters that it was “on the list of things to do.” Having said that, after how quickly negotiations broke down with Tyreek Hill in 2022, fans would feel better after both sides put pen to paper.
“Such a deal could be a three- or four-year extension, according to multiple league sources,” The Athletic’s Nate Taylor reported on May 17. “Throughout this offseason, Jones, according to a league source, has said he wants an extension that will make him at least the second-highest-paid player at his position.”
That should put Jones behind Los Angeles Rams superstar Aaron Donald in average annual salary, although he could end up with more guaranteed money than any NFL D-tackle — Tennessee Titans DT Jeffery Simmons recently surpassed Donald in guaranteed money, and New York Giants DT Dexter Lawrence tied Donald’s guarantees after a 2023 extension.
Kansas City KSHB41 insider Nick Jacobs listed all the interior DLs in the NFL that make $20 million or more per year on June 4.
Jones’ current mark to beat is Simmons’ four-year, $94 million extension ($23.5 million average annual salary). Although, the Chiefs D-tackle could be waiting out the New York Jets and Quinnen Williams, who are currently in the midst of their own extension talks this offseason.
Whoever signs first — between Jones and Williams — could set up the other to leapfrog them financially.
Chiefs Might Need D-Tackle Help Alongside Chris Jones
Fowler mentioned that a Jones extension would likely free up some cap space for Veach’s front office, and while adding star power is always nice, signing another D-tackle could make more sense.
Jones is “the guy” up the middle, but there’s very little behind him. Sure, Charles Omenihu and Mike Danna should rotate in on passing downs, but can Derrick Nnadi and rookie Keondre Coburn fill the void against the run?
It’s possible someone steps up in camp and wins the job, but there’s also a real chance that Veach decides to add some reinforcements to this room later on — as he did with Brandon Williams in 2022.
Shelby Harris, Michael Brockers, Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh are some of the top names that are still available on the open market. Reunions with Williams and 2022 contributor Taylor Stallworth are still on the table as well.