Shortly after the Kansas City Chiefs drafted defensive tackle Chris Jones out of Mississippi State back in 2016, the franchise signed him to a four-year, $6.23 million rookie contract.
That deal is set to expire following the 2019 season and given his world-beating 2018 season, the 24-year-old has elected to hold out of KC’s June minicamp. Fast forward a few weeks later, however, and Jones is still nowhere to be seen at the Chiefs’ facilities.
Training camp begins on July 26 and Jones has showed no signs that he will take part in the ever-important practice sessions.
What more need be said?
Jones is 100% justified in holding out. A player coming off a 15.5-sack, 29-QB hit, and 19-tackle for loss season should not be making $1.2 million the following campaign.
As Jones states, he has a while to keep playing at an elite level in the NFL. He’s established himself as one of the best interior linemen in the game and deserves a new-and-improved deal.
It’s as simple as that.
To say that the Chiefs are making an outlandish gaffe by hard-balling him wouldn’t even begin to describe the stalemate.
Chris Jones could be nearing a new deal, but he won’t be joining his team until he has one.
The star defensive tackle was not with the Chiefs for the start of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, NFL Media reported, citing unidentified sources.
Jones is expected to miss the entire minicamp as discussions around a contract extension have stalled. He will be subject to fines for his absence, the report noted.
Jones, who is in the final season of his rookie deal, has also missed all of the team’s voluntary workouts this offseason. While the two sides have started discussions to negotiate a contract extension, a timetable for a deal remains unknown.
“There’s a lot of time to go before the season starts, and he’s certainly a guy that we’ve targeted and would love to get done,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach told the Star in March. “The conversations have started.
“I wouldn’t say they are heating up at a rapid pace, but you’ve got to start somewhere. We’ve had two to three of these conversations and they’re getting better.”
Jones, 24, was selected out of Mississippi State in the second round of the 2016 draft. He led the Chiefs and finished third in the NFL with 15 1/2 sacks last season.
Chiefs sacks leader Chris Jones has yet to make an appearance at the team’s offseason workout program, according to Yahoo Sports.
This may be nothing as OTAs at this point are a voluntary activity, but with Jones in the final year of his contract, it certainly is something to note.
Jones’ four-year, $6.23 million rookie deal is up after this season as he is set to make $1.19 million this year.
He tallied a career-high 15 1/2 sacks in 2018 and the 2016 second-round pick has 24 sacks in three seasons with the team.
But the Chiefs changed defensive coordinators this offseason as former Giants and Saints coach Steve Spaguolo took over the duties.
With that change has come some questions about the team’s personnel as they have already traded Dee Ford to the 49ers and picked up Frank Clark from the Seahawks in an effort to make the switch from the 3-4 to the 4-3 easier.
Jones may not be part of the team’s long-term plan for sure, but as of right now he appears to be as general manager Brett Veach spoke about his excitement in pairing Jones and Clark together.
“You have to win these games in the trenches – you have to have a great o-line and a great defensive line,” Veach said, via Yahoo Sports. “We feel really good about our defensive line.”
So it looks like Jones is in the team’s plans, but it’s possible the team could franchise tag him after this season much like they did with Ford this year.
Jones could very well be holding out in hopes of getting a new deal and that could explain his absence.
Or, he’s simply working out on his own and missing voluntary activities doesn’t matter. We’ll see which it is as this story unfolds.
When it comes to writing profiles, Esquire’s Chris Jones is used to getting the last word. But a few weeks ago, when Jones worked his storytelling mojo on Roger Ebert, he took on someone who had his own platform and his own audience.
jones-c“I knew Roger was writing about the story,” Jones told us via email, confessing his hands had trembled when he clicked on the link to see what Ebert had written about his piece. “I mean, he’s a critic, right? And I really enjoyed spending time with him, and I hope he enjoyed spending time with me. I didn’t want him to feel regret for having let me in.
“So, when I read what he posted, I felt like 1,000 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I could have received a million letters from other people saying they liked the story, but if Roger Ebert had hated it, I would have felt bad about that, literally for the rest of my life.”
Jones’ moving profile of the film critic drew praise from Ebert, and also garnered a mention by Jim Romenesko and a post from the Cronkite School’s Tim McGuire, who portrayed the article as a call to the journalistic ramparts. And it’s true that the Ebert article is beautifully written, and that Jones is a national continental treasure (it turns out that the Canadians get credit for him, along with Sidney Crosby and Celine Dion).
But the thing that struck me about the story is how its online existence has transformed it. If it had come out as a print piece only, the profile of Ebert would have been read and praised, then perhaps used in some classes or maybe eventually, it would have found its way into a collection of Jones work. But what has emerged instead is a larger, living thing—a dialog of stories, if you will, between Ebert and Jones, and Ebert and Esquire.
The online version referenced Ebert’s journal on the Chicago Sun-Times site and described the movie expert expounding there on the “existence of an afterlife, the beauty of a full bookshelf, his liberalism and atheism and alcoholism, the health-care debate, Darwin, memories of departed friends and fights won and lost.”
So we have an Esquire piece that points to nearly two years of entries in Ebert’s online journal, followed by Ebert using his online journal to comment on the Esquire piece. But the story doesn’t stop there. Ebert talks about his work with Esquire decades ago and mentions “the best interview I ever wrote” for the magazine. And that interview, “Saturday at Lee —-ing Marvin’s,” is now posted on Esquire’s site as well, linking back to Ebert’s response and the original profile.
These posts and stories work particularly well together because of the talent possessed by both writers. But their connection also illustrates how a standalone story can evolve into a larger narrative by picking up prologues and codas as it finds echoes and responses in the world.