The Chiefs have yet to pay their two most important players: Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones. Mahomes has two years left under his rookie contract. Jones has none, and the team will be using the franchise tag to keep the man who was the best and most important defensive player for the Super Bowl champions in 2019.
“It’s like a mix of emotions,” Jones said regarding the news that he’ll be tagged while appearing on Colin Cowherd’s show, via ArrowheadPride.com. “Because you figure, you know, after four years, you do everything the right way, within the team way, you try to stay under the line, out of trouble, and be a good citizen for a team and for the city, you expect to be rewarded. So you know when you’re hit with the franchise tag, it can go different ways. You can feel like they’re not valuing you or they’re not valuing what you bring to the table or you can look at it as giving them time to get their horses in a cage and get something together.”
Jones tried to be positive but, with some cajoling from Cowherd, Jones admitted to being a little upset.
“I feel like every team in this league has the opportunity to franchise a good player, and I’m the lucky guy,” Jones said, with more than a little sarcasm. “There’s no hard feelings. It’s a business.” Asked by Cowherd if “it’s a little hard,” Jones agreed.
“It’s a little hard [feelings],” Jones said. “It’s like, ‘Man, what else you want me to do? I gotta go out and get 30 sacks, 35 sacks to show y’all I can . . . you know?'”
Jones remains pragmatic, especially since he saw what happened after the Chiefs tagged Dee Ford last year.
“The beautiful thing about the franchise tag it can go one of two ways,” Jones said. “The team either long-term you and have you for the future, or they’re gonna trade you.”
There’s a third option: Jones can go year to year under the tag and, after the 2021 season, he’d force his way to the market, because the Chiefs would have to give him quarterback money to tag him a third time. And that would come at a time when they’ll be paying their quarterback the most money of anyone in the league.
Jones wants to stay with the Chiefs, but consider his comments on that point. He already may be making a subtle detachment from the organization with the Freudian use of “they,” before correcting it to “we.”
“It would be nice to get paid in Kansas City and stay with Mahomes and what they’re building over there — what we’re building — is exceptional,” Jones said. “I feel like we’re building a dynasty. And for Brett Veach it’s about looking at the team [and] analyzing what you can lose and what you have to keep.”
Whatever they do with Jones, it’s the kind of story that we will be covering every step of the way. Given the way he stepped up and performed in the postseason, it’s hard to imagine the Chiefs not finding a way to keep him around, indefinitely.