On Thursday, we shared a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler saying that while there has been “no traction” in talks between the Kansas City Chiefs and their star defensive tackle Chris Jones, Jones has “kept in touch” as the team conducts its virtual offseason.
Other outlets — some of them national — also amplified Fowler’s account. But on Friday, a new report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tells an entirely different story.
More info on the #Chiefs & DT Chris Jones: The reason “not much traction” has been made on contract talks is because no negotiations or discussions have occurred since the tag. Jones has not participated and will continue to not participate in any OTAs — virtual or otherwise. https://t.co/vAz1uwBj7E— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 29, 2020
Rapoport — one of the more-reliable sources of behind-the-scenes NFL information — is pulling no punches. He is maintaining that Jones and the Chiefs aren’t talking at all — and that they haven’t been talking since March 16, when the Chiefs officially placed the franchise tag on Jones.
In addition, Rapoport says that Jones has not been participating in any part of the offseason program. This part rings true, because Jones has not yet signed the franchise tag. Until he does, he is under no contractual obligation to participate in any team activities.
But considering that in this particular offseason, the program consists of staying at home and taking part in virtual meetings — instead of showing up at the team facility and risking injury by participating in workouts — it would have been a welcome sign to learn that Jones was doing at least that much.
But according to Rapoport, he isn’t.
Does this mean there is no hope that the Chiefs can come to terms with Jones before the July 15 deadline — or that Jones will sign the tag, report to camp and play the 2020 season for the $16.1 million the tag allows?
No... it doesn’t.
But neither is it an encouraging sign that either one of those things will happen.