On the Monday edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we discussed Friday’s report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on negotiations between the Kansas City Chiefs and star defensive tackle the Chris Jones.
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
As Craig Stout has maintained throughout this entire process (and I agree), the Chiefs’ actions have spoken louder than their words; since Jones’ holdout from offseason activities a year ago — when it was reported the team offered a contract offer similar to the Grady Jarrett deal — no offer has been extended. Ever since the franchise tag was placed on Jones, we’ve known what he would receive to play on the tag.
There’s obviously still time. In his pre-draft press conference, Brett Veach said there was plenty of time to negotiate a deal; the deadline for franchise-tagged players to reach one is July 15. We are now halfway through that window without any discussion between parties — and with no offer extended since last year.
Veach has called signing Jones a team priority, but what has transpired does not reflect what the team would do with a player they are prioritizing. This could certainly all be posturing and hardball negotiation tactics to help drive the price down — but there has also been talk of some hurt feelings amidst the negotiations. That could be making this more challenging.
Another obstacle that has been introduced this offseason is the DeForest Buckner trade and contract that will net him $21 million per year. Jones will assuredly want that figure or more — and should be trying to earn it — but there’s a big gap between that and Jarrett’s $17 million annually.
When the Buckner deal was announced, I said I believed Jones was heading toward playing on the franchise tag this season — even though neither side wants that. But now, the gap between the two sides seems too large to resolve this offseason — especially since Patrick Mahomes’ deal has yet to materialize.
The next step the Chiefs make towards a deal for Jones will be the first. Time is running out for them to show tangible evidence of even working toward a deal — let alone reach one. It’s going to be a fascinating forty-plus days to monitor. I’m not optimistic they’re reaching a deal.
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