Right before we sat down to record the Wednesday AP Laboratory, news on the Chris Jones front came out from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
From @NFLTotalAccess, answering the question of which guy deserves to get a contract extension, I went with #Chiefs DL Chris Jones, though with the team not making an offer at $20m per season or more, I don't think he bites before the deadline to do a deal. pic.twitter.com/tygcsLCXer— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 1, 2020
There are so many things to unpack in this 43-second clip — which is probably the most substantial report we’ve seen to this point in the Chris Jones saga. We reacted to the Garafolo video and Jones’ response on Twitter on the AP Laboratory as it happened.
In the video, Garafolo says that Jones views himself as a $20M-plus average-per-year (APY) player, and the Chiefs have yet to make him an offer surpassing that number (even before COVID). All of this comes just days after it was reported that COVID has impacted the Chiefs’ financial outlook in negotiations with Jones.
I’m told there hasn’t been much traction at all toward a new contract between the #chiefs and Chris Jones. They do want him back long term, but COVID's played a big part with teams not knowing what the cap will be in 2021. Some clarity from the league before July 15th could help— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) June 26, 2020
These two statements are contradictory, which makes me believe that one is coming from the Chiefs and the other is coming from Jones’ team. It would be a tidy, public-facing angle to present the inability to extend Jones as cap uncertainty in 2021 due to COVID. That angle was shattered in just a few days with report that the Chiefs simply have not been willing to come close to meeting the demands of Jones’ team.
Garafolo is not optimistic that a long-term deal will be done — and neither am I. Since the Indianapolis Colts made an aggressive trade to acquire DeForest Buckner from the 49ers and pay him a massive contract, I’ve believed Jones will be playing on the tag this year. The Chiefs do not look remotely close to meeting the $21M APY number that Buckner earned. You would have to think Jones is looking for similar.
Things appear to be a little toxic in negotiations with threat of holdout, and at this point, anything is on the table for the end result. I wouldn’t be stunned to see a trade occur in the next two weeks to a team willing to pay Jones — a place I did not expect to be at this late in the offseason. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Jones sit games out and show up just in time to get his year of service.
However, a long-term deal seems like the least likely outcome.
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