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Chiefs’ contract with Ronald Jones is better than expected

The former Tampa Bay running back has signed a very favorable deal in Kansas City.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

When the Kansas City Chiefs signed free-agent running back Ronald Jones to their roster on Saturday, all we knew was that the former Tampa Bay running back was signing a one-year contract that was worth “up to” $5 million.

We now know the details of Jones’ contract. Like the one for new Kansas City wide receiver Marquez Verdes-Scantling, it’s a better deal than expected. And just like the one for wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, most of it is based on not-likely-to-be-earned (NLTBE) incentives in 2022 — meaning that should Jones earn them, they will be carried against the 2023 salary cap.

According to a report from Pro Football Focus NFL reporter Ari Meirov, just $1.5 million of the contract will be paid in 2022.

According to Spotrac, that $1.5 million consists of a base salary of $1.25 million, plus a signing bonus of $250,000. This means that $500,000 of his base salary is guaranteed for the coming season.

Jones will now be earning a slightly-higher base salary than he did during the last year of his rookie contract in Tampa Bay — which was $1.44 million — plus another $250,000 paid at signing and the opportunity to earn another $3.5 million.

Just like Smith-Schuster, Jones’ 2021 production was relatively low: just three games started, with 428 rushing yards and four touchdowns. This means it would have been possible to create NLTBE incentives that Jones would consider easy to attain, giving the Chiefs some leverage to sign the former Buccaneer to a contract that helps them navigate their 2022 salary-cap problems.

This was the last of the Kansas City contracts for which we had no details. With this information in hand, we can now say that the Chiefs have $14.6 million in cap space.

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