Tyreek Hill isn’t the only important member of the Chiefs entering the last year of his contract. Chris Jones also sits a season away from free agency, and his effort to get a new contract could still result in a training-camp holdout.
Although Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star calls a holdout from Jones “likely,” a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that no final decision has been made, and that Jones and his representation are exploring all options.
A second-round pick in 2016, Jones is due to make $1.19 million in 2019. Listed as a defensive end but often rushing the passer from an interior position, Jones has 24 sacks in three years. Last season, he racked up an impressive 15.5 sacks.
Jones also set an all-time league record last season by racking up at least one sack in 11 straight games.
He stayed away from the offseason program, including the mandatory minicamp. Because he has three years of service and sits one year away from free agency, the August 6 deadline for reporting and gaining that fourth year of service becomes more important to Jones than a fourth-year player with two years left under contract, like Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.
But consider this: If Jones misses the August 6 deadline it means only that he would be eligible for restricted free agency in 2020, which means he could be pilfered by a team willing to give up only one first-round pick as compensation, if the Chiefs apply the highest possible RFA tender. That could prompt the Chiefs to choose to still use the franchise tag, which would put the compensation at a pair of first-round picks.
The bottom line for Jones is that, if he holds out, he’s not doing it to get to free agency but to get paid now, and the best way to get paid now is to withhold services — if you are a player that the team realizes it desperately needs.