Sooner or Later, The Chiefs Star Is Due For a Payday.. Is It Time?
Chiefs star defensive lineman Chris Jones has played up to defensive player of the year level. Jones is under contract through 2023 and in my opinion is getting paid ridiculously cheap.
Jones’s cap hit next year, according to over the cap, is a little bit over $27 million. The Chiefs are not going to allow a defensive end to have the same salary hit as a top wide receiver. This is compounded by the fact the Chiefs are projected to be one of the top spenders in next year’s free agency because they are going to have to rebuild both the defensive line and the wide receiver room.
Spottrac has Jones as the only player coming back as a defensive tackle under contract for next year. The Chiefs have used him across the entire line this year. This means that they are going to need as much flexibility as possible.
Jones’ play this year has him playing as a top defender. This year he has forced two fumbles, has five sacks and three defended passes. He is on pace to play better this year than he did last year. This is despite the fact he had one taken away from him in the game against the Raiders.
One of the more important stats that Jones has put up is his pressure rate. Player Profiler has Jones occurring 17 quarterback pressures putting forth on interior defensive lineman. This is even more impressive when you consider he is constantly being double teamed and the rest of the line does not provide a significant threat meaning they are able to focus more attention on Jones.
A realistic contract for Jones is adding three new years onto his contract. A total of $60 million and $30 million guaranteed added to his deal. His previous contract had $7 million guaranteed over the last three years. Adding an extra $3 million in guaranteed money on each year is at least a starting point.
The increase in guaranteed money is realistic as his third contract in the league is going to be the largest that he will receive in his career. Three new years will keep him on the Chiefs until he turns 32 years old. This limits the risk of paying a player a significant amount of money and having them fall off due to age.
The top defensive lineman in the league are all in the lower thirties. For example, Cam Heyward is 33, Aaron Donald is 31 and Fletcher Cox is 31. These are the players that have the same productivity as Jones. These players are the top of their position. These players show that Jones can still be one of the best in the league when he breaks 30 years old.
Jones is the best defensive player that the Chiefs have. He provides pressure on the quarterback. In today’s pass happy league that is the most important stat any player can provide. Locking him up not only will allow salary cap flexibility but will continue to allow flexibility along the defensive line to use Jones in the most impacting way.