Lions Named Landing Spot for ‘Superstar’ DE Expected to Earn $140M Deal

Getty KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 13: Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates a sack during the first half against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 13, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions found a budding star in edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, but have struggled last season to find a consistent pass rush outside the second-year standout.

That could change this offseason, with the Lions being named a top potential landing spot for Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones as he heads to free agency. After signing an $80-million contract in 2020, Jones returned to the Chiefs last season on a one-year deal and helped lead them to a second straight Super Bowl title.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay suggested that Jones could head to Detroit next season — if the Lions are willing to match his enormous expected asking price.

Chris Jones the Final Piece in Detroit

Kay noted that the Lions fell just short of reaching the Super Bowl, squandering a 17-point lead to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. The game exposed the team’s defensive deficiencies, which Kay said the “superstar” Jones could help address.

“While his services will be pricy, there is no question that Jones would have a tremendous impact on Detroit’s ability to both get after opposing quarterbacks and shut down the run,” Kay wrote. “The five-time Pro Bowler would make an especially excellent partner for 2022’s No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, who has started his career red-hot with 21 sacks over his first two seasons.”

The Lions aimed to make some big additions to their secondary last offseason, signing safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley before watching both go down to long-term injuries. Kay noted that the Lions still made strides in shoring up their defense, but still finished in the bottom half of the league for both total and scoring defense.

Adding Jones would give a significant boost to their pass rush, but would also be very expensive, Kay wrote.

Chris Jones Headed to Massive Deal

While the Lions are expected to have $48 million cap space, Jones would represent a considerable investment. Kay predicted that the five-time Pro Bowler could be in the running for the largest total contract and most guaranteed dollars for a defensive player in league history, and Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News projected that Jones would sign a four-year, $140 million contract with at least $100 million in guaranteed money.

The Lions would also need to convince Jones to leave the Chiefs, who are still seen as a top contender for him. The 29-year-old is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, making 10.5 sacks and 30 total tackles in 16 games this season, earning first-team All-Pro for the second time in his career.

While the Lions could be in position to make a significant investment, general manager Brad Holmes warned that the team was not looking to go all-in for a chance at a Super Bowl.

“I don’t want anybody to think that this was a one shot, Cinderella, magical journey that just happened,” Holmes said at the team’s season-ending press conference, via The Associated Press. “No, it’s real. This is exactly what was supposed to happen.

“I understand that based on history from what’s happened in the past, I understand you have a season like this, it’s easy to feel like this was kind of a one shot, magical, lucky, cute story, which I’m tired of hearing. It was none of that.”

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