July 21, 2024

The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t looked like the dominant squad they had in previous seasons, but Patrick Mahomes and company have advanced to the playoffs, where they will face the Miami Dolphins at home on Sunday night.

As any NFL fan knows, anything can happen once a team gets the playoffs, but the Chiefs might also be eliminated early by the Dolphins. Despite a slew of injuries, Miami still has major players on both sides of the ball, and this should be a difficult battle. Chris Jones has been a club staple for numerous years and has produced significantly this season, contributing to the team’s defensive prowess.

While the Chiefs are usually recognized for their offensive brilliance, this year’s defense, led by veteran DT Chris Jones, an excellent secondary, and other important playmakers, has carried the team for the majority of the season.

The Chiefs have the NFL’s second-best defense, allowing only 289.8 yards per game and 32 touchdowns this season. The only club ranked higher is the Cleveland Browns, who allow fewer yards per game (270.2) but 44 touchdowns, which is much more than Kansas City.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ greatest strength is their ability to defend the pass by putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and challenging them to beat their talented cornerbacks and safeties.

Chris Jones leads the pass rush with 30 tackles and 10.5 sacks entering Sunday’s game. Since being picked in the second round out of Mississippi State in 2016, the top defensive tackle has spent his whole career in Kansas City.

Jones has long been the face of the Chiefs defense, producing practically every season he’s been with the team. This is the third year in his career that he has surpassed the 10-sack mark, and he had 15.5 sacks last season and in 2018. Except for his debut season in 2016, when he had 2.5 sacks, the Kansas City Chiefs’ big man has never had fewer than 6.5 sacks in a season.

Jones is largely regarded as one of the league’s greatest defensive linemen, but his future is unknown because his current deal expires after the 2023 season.

Chris Jones is aware that Saturday could be his final game at Arrowhead Stadium, with the Kansas City Chiefs’ future uncertain.

Jones told KSHB news in Kansas City that he is trying not to think about the upcoming offseason yet because the Kansas City Chiefs’ last offseason was dominated by uncertainty surrounding the All-Pro defensive tackle’s contract status, including a holdout that lasted into the regular season.

With the arrival of the NFL playoffs, Jones — who is tied for the club lead with 10 1/2 sacks, the third-most in his eight-year career — knows the next game may be his last with Kansas City.

“I try not to think about it,” Chris Jones said last Wednesday, as the Chiefs prepared to meet the Miami Dolphins in the Super Wild Card Round on Saturday night. “This could be my final game in Arrowhead.” Who can say? Most importantly, we have a game to play. We’re hoping to go far in these playoffs. If this is my final game, we must make it count.”

The Chiefs have won two of the last four Super Bowls and three AFC championships in that time.

Jones has been an important piece of Kansas City’s championship puzzle, but his contract expires at the end of the 2023 season, and the organization must make a decision after failing to reach a long-term agreement last summer.

The Chiefs used the franchise tag to keep Jones in the fold four years ago, but that might be prohibitively pricey in 2024, with a fully guaranteed salary-cap hit north of $32 million next season.

 

Chris Jones - Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Tackle - ESPN

 

During the contract dispute, Jones and Kansas City worked out a four-year deal for about $80 million in 2020, with the last year modified in early September after he sat out a season-opening loss to Detroit.

The Chiefs and their 2016 second-round choice, who stands sixth in franchise history with 75 1/2 career sacks, are now facing the shadow of free agency for the second time.

Chris Jones is PFF’s top free agent entering the 2024 summer.

“It’s rare for a player of Jones’ caliber to reach unrestricted free agency, and Kansas City did not give up the right to franchise tag him for a second time when the two sides agreed to a reworked contract this past offseason,” the publication said.

“A price tag for Jones would be north of $33 million, allowing him to test the open market for the first time in his career.” Jones is not only one of the best interior pass-rushers in the game right now; he is also one of the best all-time. He can also line up outside of tackles as a five-technique, bend around the edge, and go home.”

According to PFF, the Kansas City Chiefs star may earn a four-year contract worth $120 million, with $80 million guaranteed.

Chris Jones could be playing his final game in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

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