Appearing on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football Weekend on Sunday morning, Ian Rapoport said that the Kansas City Chiefs have three priorities in offseason contract situations: wide receiver Tyreek Hill, defensive lineman Chris Jones and linebacker Dee Ford.
Rapoport said that the Chiefs will seek to extend the rookie contracts of Hill and Jones, and that putting the franchise tag on Dee Ford is “on the table.”
From @gmfb Weekend: Among the #Chiefs key offseason priorities are locking up star WR Tyreek Hill and DE Chris Jones... Meanwhile, the franchise tag is very much on the table for pass-rusher Dee Ford. pic.twitter.com/hm0j0PlS7k— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 20, 2019
This all makes sense.
Hill and Jones — both drafted in 2016 — are contracted through next season, and would become free agents in 2020. Most Chiefs fans would identify these two as the top priorities in this group to get locked into contracts before they would be eligible for free agency. Other players still on rookie contracts that would be eligible for free agency after next season include Demarcus Robinson, Reggie Ragland and Eric Murray.
Ford — drafted in 2014 — will be a free agent in 2019. The Chiefs picked up Ford’s fifth-year option in May of 2017. While Ford has had a terrific season in 2018, it’s taken him a while to get to this level of production, and he has also missed significant playing time due to injury in two of his five seasons to date. For these reasons, many Chiefs fans are leery of giving Ford a long-term contract, and would favor giving Ford a franchise tag.
Still, Hill and Jones would be in a position to demand top money, and as we told you in October, a franchise tag for Ford would probably command in the neighborhood of $16.325 million in 2019. In addition, there is now a report that the Chiefs intend to renegotiate Patrick Mahomes’ contract after the 2019 season.
Spotrac currently estimates that the Chiefs will have more than $36 million in cap space for 2019. That’s a lot of money to spend, but it could end up going fast — and if Schefter’s report is accurate, the Chiefs also have to be thinking ahead so they can accommodate a big contract for their quarterback after 2019.
Brett Veach will have his work cut out for him.