On Monday, NFL teams faced a deadline to sign players to whom they had applied the franchise tag. Going into the weekend, just three such players remained unsigned: San Francisco 49ers placekicker Robbie Gould, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, and Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney.
But early Monday morning, there was news that the 49ers and Gould had finalized a two-year, fully-guaranteed $10.5 million extension that could end up being a four-year deal worth $19 million. Then shortly before the signing deadline, the Falcons signed Jarrett to a four-year deal worth $68 million. When zero hour passed at 3:00 pm Arrowhead Time, Clowney remained unsigned to a new deal, and will therefore play on the franchise tag in 2019.
But it is Jarrett’s contract that raised eyebrows among Kansas City Chiefs fans.
Could Jarrett’s deal alter the market in such a way that the Chiefs could get some additional leverage over defensive tackle Chris Jones, with whom the Chiefs are engaged in contract negotiations? The Chiefs and Jones have been thought to be talking about a contract in the range of five years and $100 million. Could Jarrett’s deal give the Chiefs an opportunity to lock in Jones for less?
Pro Football Focus immediately thought so.
This may be an important development in the Chris Jones contract discussions.— PFF KC Chiefs (@PFF_Chiefs) July 15, 2019
In 2018, Jarrett and Jones finished the season tied for 4th in PFF grading among interior defenders with a 91.0 grade (including postseason).#ChiefsKingdom https://t.co/OsCrRd6TEu
But not everyone agreed on that point of view. Asked if Jarrett’s deal could affect the Jones negotiations, former agent Joel Corry dismissed the idea.
Grady Jarrett has no impact on Chris Jones. Players who consistently put pressure on opposing QB are paid a premium regardless of position. After 15.5 sacks & an NFL record of 11 straight games with a sack, Jones is probably looking for Frank Clark type money if not more. https://t.co/s2z2pY3faP— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) July 15, 2019
Corry wasn’t afraid to use PFF’s own statistics to discount their speculation.
In fact, Corry has been saying all along that the floor for Jones’ contact would be the one given to Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who signed a six-year, $103 million dollar deal in 2016. On Monday afternoon, Corry held firm to that position.
Don't count on Chris Jones signing for less per year than Fletcher Cox got in 2016 when the salary cap was $155.27M. There's no Chris Jones deal unless he's joining the $20M per year non-QB club if I represented him. https://t.co/kHCoretr40— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) July 15, 2019
Still, Jones’ camp would probably rather have seen Jarrett sign a bigger deal than he did. That would improve their case for the kind of contract Corry believes Jones should be trying to get from the Chiefs.
On Monday morning, we told you that there has been “no change” in the status of Jones’ negotiations with the team. That is still the case. But with Jarrett’s signing, it’s possible the balance of power could have shifted a little bit.