The Kansas City Chiefs play the opening game of their season on Thursday.
And as of right now, the reigning Super Bowl champs are without their best defensive player: All-Pro lineman Chris Jones.
Jones, who’s entering the final year of his four-year, $80 million deal, is searching for a new contract, and has made it clear that he’s unwilling to play for less than what he feels he deserves. So what exactly is that?
Nick Wright reported on the numbers Monday.
“I can report a few things that I know to be true,” he said on “First Things First.” “I know that Chris not being there at this point is very surprising to Kansas City. I know that right now, the difference is $9.5 million over two years.
“Chris has on the table a two-year, fully guaranteed extension that’s $27.25 million a year. So two years, for $54.5 million that would be tacked on to the end of this deal. Chris wants two years, $64 million, which is $32 million a year. Aaron Donald obviously makes $31.7 million a year — set the new standard.”
That leaves Kansas City with a dilemma: Dig in and stand its ground, or give in to Jones’ demands.
“I’m not saying it’s not fair,” Wright went on. “The Chiefs feel this is not an instance of we are asking for a team-friendly deal, or a discount or anything like that, because the market is Jeffrey Simmons at $23.5 million, Quinnen Williams just got his new deal at $24 million, and they’re offering over $27 million. … Aaron Donald’s deal is an outlier, and Chris feels like ‘I’m the best in the league, so I want that deal.’ At this point, there is an element of not sure where we go. … I think it has surprised people.”
Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings can see where Jones is coming from.
“Players don’t see the outliers. You either feel like you’re the best, and you should be paid accordingly, or you fall into the slot that you’re at. Period, point blank. And right now, Chris Jones feels that he’s the best. And he is.
“When I look at this situation, and I’m the Kansas City Chiefs, the last thing that I want is for someone who is not present to become a distraction. Because their goal … is not just winning opening night, this is long-term. This is ‘do we have the talent, and the personnel to repeat?’ We have not seen a repeat … in almost 20 years.”
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Kansas City certainly has lofty goals, but Jones plays a huge role for them. That begs the question: Is the team willing to see what it looks like without Jones in the fold?
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