The Kansas City Chiefs and their star defender, Chris Jones, have reportedly not talked about a contract extension in months. Ian Rapoport appeared on the NFL Network, per Yahoo Sports, and said he did a bit of digging into how talks were progressing. He said he found the two sides haven’t spoken at all since just a few days after the team put the franchise tag on the defensive lineman.
The Chiefs are on the hook for $15 million this year if they can’t work out a new deal with Jones. When the front office announced they had tagged him, they also made it clear they wanted to find a way to get an extension done. Rapoport said the uncertainty of the season put a halt on those talks. Not long after Jones was tagged, the NFL put a pause on all league business because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The NFL insider said he looked a little harder into contract talks in general in the league. He said there aren’t all that many contracts being discussed by any teams. The lack of discussions on hard numbers are also due to the pandemic. While the league is planning on resuming fall camp and the regular season on time, there is always the chance a resurgence of the virus could set things back.
Rapoport also said the Chiefs are putting Jones on the back burner until they make more progress in talks with star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The team has made it clear it wants to lock Mahomes down for the long term. Ownership has said they want the quarterback to be a Chief “for life.” The team is on record as wanting Jones long-term as well, but if the front office has to make a decision, it will pick Mahomes.
This is the second straight year the Chiefs and Jones have gone through this process. In 2019, the team also franchise tagged the defensive lineman in the offseason. Jones then skipped several team workouts, saying he wanted a longer-term deal before he appeared. There was even some talk among those around the team who believed he might hold out for the preseason at least. He ended up reporting on time and playing the entire 2019 season on the one-year deal.
Jones did say earlier this offseason he had no intention of playing on another contract like that. The Chiefs and its star defender are now just a little over a month away from the deadline to get a deal done. If the two sides can’t arrive at an extension agreement by July 15, Jones will play under the franchise tag contract terms.