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Report: Chris Jones not seeking ‘Aaron Donald money’

Kansas City’s defensive tackle has revealed what he says has been the team’s offer for a contract extension.

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

According to a story by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive end Chris Jones is not seeking to be paid more than the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald, whose contract carries an annual average value (AAV) of $31.67 million.

Jones is currently holding out as he seeks an extension to his contract, which extends through the coming season.

Florio said that in response to to a report that Jones was seeking that kind of money, he and his colleagues “put on our journalisming hat” to get the truth. To put it another way, it seems that Florio got some information from Jones’ camp.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Chiefs have offered to replace the $19.5 million that Jones is due to earn in 2023 with $74 million over the next three years. Of that amount, $70 million would be guaranteed for injury, with a lower amount fully guaranteed.

That’s an average of $24.67 million, and $7 million per year less than the Donald deal. Jones, we’re told, isn’t trying to get to Donald’s number. In fact, he’d split the difference.

The midpoint between the team’s offer and the Donald deal is $28.17 million.

Those figures would appear to be within the general area of the team’s offer.

So, for the 29-year-old Jones, Kansas City General manager Brett Veach is reported to be offering only a two-year extension beyond the 2023 season — and one that as predicted, exceeds the $24 million AAV (along with $66 million in guarantees) given to the New York Jets’ defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, which was considered to be the benchmark both the Chiefs and Jones were waiting to see.

Up to this point, the best information indicated that Jones’ camp was seeking $30 million AAV. So now, Jones is saying he’d be happy to “split the difference” between the team’s current offer and Donald’s AAV. It is worth pointing out that splitting the difference between the Chiefs’ reported offer and Jones’ reported demand would actually be $27.35 million AAV — not the $28.17 million midpoint Florio identified.

But that, of course, is exactly the way agents (and the team’s personnel staff) earn their money: by figuring out ways to make themselves look like they’re holding the high ground. And for now, the negotiation continues.

“It’s been well stated about how we feel about Chris,” said Veach on Wednesday, “and he feels the same way.”

That’s the reason the Chiefs are willing to pay Jones an AAV of $27.25 million for 2024 and 2025 (bringing Jones to his age 31 season). But they also have to be smart. With contract extensions for players like Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, Nick Bolton and L’Jarius Sneed on the horizon, the team can’t afford to overpay.

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