With the deadline for signing a long-term deal while on the franchise tag just over two weeks away, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones may be trying to assert some leverage into negotiations.
In a reply via his Twitter account to a segment from the NFL Network discussing his contract situation, Jones said that he won’t play in 2020 if he doesn’t get a long-term deal from the Chiefs.
Or I won’t play. @LeVeonBell told me about this
— Chris Jones (@StoneColdJones) July 1, 2020
Le'Veon Bell sat out the entire 2018 after the Pittsburgh Steelers used the franchise tag on him for a second consecutive season. The Steelers did not use the tag again on Bell last year and he signed a free agent deal with the New York Jets instead.
Jones doesn’t appear to be particularly close to reaching a deal with the Chiefs at the moment. The franchise tag tender for Jones is worth $16.1 million for the upcoming year. Jones has posted 24.5 sacks combined over the last two seasons for Kansas City with career-high 15.5 sacks coming in 2018.
The top of the defensive tackle market sits with Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams and DeForest Buckner of the Indianapolis Colts. Donald is the second-highest paid defensive player in the game at $22.5 million a year on average, which trails only Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears. Buckner’s new deal with the Colts following a trade this offseason is worth $21 million a year on average.
Jones has more sacks (33) than Buckner does (28.5) over the last four years and would likely view himself as being worth at least in the same neighborhood from a contract standpoint.
The Chiefs also have to figure out a long-term deal for Patrick Mahomes as well and that could be factoring into Jones’ situation as well.
While there are differences between Jones’ and Bell’s situations, Jones stating he won’t play without a new deal from the Chiefs is at the very least an attempt to leverage the negotiations a bit more in his favor.