The Kansas City Chiefs are expected to put the franchise tag on one of their best defensive players in the very near future. Sources have told ESPN.com that Chris Jones’ contract will be locked in with the tag, though that’s not a guarantee he’ll be back with the team in 2020.
While using the franchise tag doesn’t necessarily mean the Chiefs are going to retain Jones, general manager Brett Veach has made it clear they would like to do so. Veach added he’d like to come up with a long term contract agreement instead, signaling the tag would be a move of last resort.
“It’s certainly a priority for us. Sometimes these things take some time to work through. The franchise tag is something that we have the ability to use. We’d certainly like to see if we can work something out with him. The tandem of Chris Jones and Frank Clark is something any team would want and we’re going to work hard to get that done.”
The big question now is how the defensive lineman is going to react when the Chiefs make their move. He did not appear at several workouts and training camps over the course of last offseason with the stated goal of getting a new long term deal with Kansas City. At the time, there was some concern he might hold out into fall training camp and into the season. He ended up showing up and playing the season on the final year of a contract he signed in 2016.
Jones, who turns 26 this year, has led the Kansas City Chiefs in sacks for the last two years. He’s not afraid to talk about his goals to be one of — if not the best — sack masters in the game. When he got to camp ahead of the 2018 season, he proclaimed he was going to lead the league in sacks. While he didn’t hit that mark, he did register 15.5 sacks after recording just 6.5 sacks the season before. In 2019, he finished the year with nine sacks and 20 quarterback hits.
Last week, The Inquisitr reported predictions have been floating around the web that the Chiefs might indeed slap the franchise tag on Jones but still deal him to another team. One prediction had him being tagged and then dealt to the Indianapolis Colts because they have the kind of salary cap space to absorb the contract. They also have the draft picks that could be attractive to Kansas City.
The move to sign Jones to a one-year deal hasn’t been made official yet. When it is, Chiefs fans will have to wait and see the fallout.