Kansas City Chiefs superstar defensive tackle Chris Jones reportedly could sign a contract this offseason that rivals future Hall of Fame defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s deal with the Los Angeles Rams.According to ESPN’s Matt Bowen and Jeremy Fowler, Jones “could flirt with” making $30 million per year once he hits free agency, putting him just shy of Donald’s $31.6 million per year salary, which is the highest by far among NFL defensive tackles, per Spotrac.
Bowen and Fowler noted that Jones has a good chance of signing a long-term deal since the Chiefs likely won’t be able to afford to apply the franchise tag on him.By franchising Jones, the Chiefs would have to pay him 120 percent of his current salary cap hit, which works out to over $32 million.Last season, Jones enjoyed a career year, as he registered a career-high 44 tackles and 15.5 sacks, while also helping the Chiefs win the Super Bowl. He was also named a Pro Bowler for the fourth consecutive season and a first-team All-Pro for the first time.
Given his performance and the fact that he was about to enter the final year of his deal, Jones held out leading up to the 2023 campaign.The holdout spilled over into the start of the regular season and Jones sat out Kansas City’s Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions. His absence was short-lived, though, as the two sides agreed to a restructured, one-year, $19.5 million deal for 2023.
Jones has continued to outplay that salary, recording 17 tackles, 5.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits and three passes defended in eight games this season.The 29-year-old Mississippi State alum is among the primary reasons why the Chiefs have arguably their best defense of the Andy Reid era this season.While the offense is always a threat with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce leading the way, KC ranks fourth in the NFL in total defense and second in scoring defense, allowing a mere 15.9 points per game.
The Chiefs currently have one of the tightest cap situations in the NFL, as they are just $3.1 million under the cap currently, per OverTheCap.com.Because of that, Kansas City would likely have to clear out a ton of salary to afford Jones either via the franchise tag or a long-term deal.Jones would represent a massive loss, and the potential of him leaving likely heightens the sense of urgency to win a second consecutive Super Bowl this season