There are multiple holdouts or even potential holdout situations for monitoring the whole of the NFL entering the start of training camps – Zack Martin, the Dallas Cowboys All-Pro offensive guard, as well as Pro Bowl running backs Saquon Barkley, and Josh Jacobs come to mind – but it is Chris Jones, the Kansas Chiefs 2022 All-Pro defensive tackle, who is the most pivotal athlete here.
The ace defensive lineman happens to be the anchor of the defense front for the defending Super Bowl champions, Kansas Chiefs. The 29-year-old Jones is the only player who has earned a crazy Pro Bowl selection on that side of the ball, considering the front office of Kansas City has opted for a relatively affordable youth movement of sorts around him while spending more for retaining Super Bowl MVP and NFL MVP, Patrick Mahomes.
Plus, in his seven-year-long NFL career between 2016 and 2022, Mahomes has been healthy and has missed only six games. At the same time, Jones also tries to do better – he posted quarterback pressures and career-highs in sacks last season for helping the Chiefs get hold of their 2nd Super Bowl title, and that too in 4 years.
So with all this happening, how did everything escalate to a place where Jones felt the requirement to hold out?
How Did The Defense Tackle Market Change?
The contract that Jones signed – which is ready to begin its final season this year, worth $80 million – represented a top position in terms of industry rates.
The contract was inked in 2020 – during this time, Jones was one of three defensive tackles who received at least 20 million dollars annually on average, while Aaron Donald, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, was on a 135 million dollar deal, and DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts All-Pro was on an 84 million dollar deal.
But now, instead of just trailing only Buckner and Donald at his position Chris Jones is currently behind 8 defensive tackles where salary is considered.
- Donald at $96 million (All-Pro Quinnen Williams),
- Jeffrey Simmons at $94 million (Tennessee Titans),
- Dexter Lawrence at $90 million (Giants Pro Bowler),
- Daron Payne at $90 million (Commanders Pro Bowler),
- Javon Hargrave at $84 million (49ers Pro Bowler),
- Leonard Williams at $63 million (New York Giants), and
- Buckner at $84 million (Indianapolis Colts All-Pro).
With five of these players being signed during the 2023 offseason, the general market price for the position of defensive tackle has distinctively shifted towards an upward trajectory.
Why Jones Has Leverage?
No one really here except Donald has been able to anchor a winning-defensive front in the Super Bowl like Jones – Jones did it twice! Last season, Jones finished third in the DPOY voting, right behind Nick Bosa, the San Francisco 49ers defensive, and Micah Parsons, the Dallas Cowboys linebacker.
Nobody else really appears close to Chris Jones on the whole of Kansas City defense front in terms of salary or production, making a solid case for the Chiefs to actually extend him before the first week. Moreover, nobody else, apart from Jones, has over 50 quarterback pressures on the Chief’s defense front.
Brett Veach, general manager for the team, could actually get really creative with the whole structure of a potential deal with Jones to make the calculations work, especially for their market cap going forward.
In June, Veach spoke about the same after the team’s minicamp, which was skipped by Jones, ended to FOX4 News,
“We have great communication, and there’s a lot of time before camp. Feel good about where we’re going to be with Chris. We’ll get to celebrate tonight and have a good time, break tomorrow, and I’m sure we’ll have great dialogue from now to the start of training camp and look forward to Chris being here not just for next year but for a long time.”
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