The Kansas City Chiefs are set to get defensive tackle Chris Jones back in the fold for a Week 2 showdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars, as his lengthy holdout and contract situation have been resolved. Now, both sides can move forward and look to chase another championship together.
For Jones, he gets an opportunity to earn back the money he’s lost via fines for not showing up for the club’s offseason program, training camp, preseason and opening game of the 2023 regular season. Additionally, he could pick up some extra change along the way if he hits specific high-level benchmarks that would trigger incentives in his new one-year contract. While the absence of a long-term deal is still somewhat of a dark cloud hanging over the situation, Jones’s imminent return to the team will serve as a bright ray of sunshine for the 0-1 Chiefs.
How did things get to this point, and what caused the final agreement to fall into place? Appearing on a Tuesday edition of the Rich Eisen Show, Albert Breer of The MMQB dove into what unfolded. Citing the new deal as a chance for Jones to “save face,” Breer concluded that this was the team’s last-ditch effort to work something out with their star defensive lineman:
“I feel like the Chiefs tried their best to give him an opportunity to save face here because I think he’d sort of run out of options. The Aaron Donald outlier contract had sort of poisoned negotiations. They had worked in that middle ground between what Aaron Donald got and what the other top d-tackles like Quinnen Williams, Jeffery Simmons and Dexter Lawrence got. They were working in that middle ground, but they couldn’t find a middle ground to do a long-term deal. So after the Thursday night game, they launched talks on what the Chiefs considered was the final swing: Let’s redo your deal and just do this one year, and fix it so it’s fixed for this one year.”
As Jones plays out the 2023 season on this revised contract, the Chiefs managed to maintain the option to place the franchise tag on him next spring if they so choose. Should that happen, or even if Jones organically hits the free agent market, there’s always some chance that a long-term contract with the team could still be worked out. How real is that likelihood? While he didn’t put a percentage on it, Breer said Jones’s camp and the Chiefs have no hard feelings and could potentially still be interested in smoothing everything over in the future despite the holdout not panning out:
“This is a situation where I think it’s very easy to question the holdout and whether or not Chris Jones did the right thing. And it sucks because players used to have this lever to pull, but it’s a very, very hard lever to pull now based on the way the rules are set up via the CBA that was negotiated a couple of years ago. I think the good news is that they did handle the situation over the weekend. Chris stayed in Kansas City after the game and was there all weekend. He’ll be there today to take his physical. I don’t think there’s any acrimony between the sides. I think they’re both amenable to doing a new deal after all this and having Chris Jones remain a Chief [for] the rest of his career, but clearly, the holdout didn’t work.”