April 18, 2024

Late Saturday night, it was announced that the Chiefs and Jones had reached an agreement on a contract extension that would keep him in Kansas City for at least the next few seasons. This was and should have been the Chiefs’ first priority this offseason.

After a slew of cryptic tweets and a newfound loathing for certain ultra-greasy agents, news broke on Saturday night that the Kansas City Chiefs and Chris Jones had agreed on a contract extension, which was met with almost overwhelming enthusiasm. Jones will remain with the Chiefs for at least the next few years of his highly productive career, and he will be the highest-paid defensive lineman in football. It’s a wage that he’s undoubtedly earned during his stint in Kansas City.

The Jones bombshell was the second major domino to fall for Kansas City this offseason, following the announcement that the team would (and did) utilize the franchise tag on cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. For those who came into the offseason dreading the worst for a Chiefs defense that was dominant in 2023 but was rife with free agents coming into 2024, the Sneed news, combined with Jones’ few days of no deal, undoubtedly produced some quiet tension. However, with the extension of Steve Spagnuolo, the re-signing of Drue Tranquill, and now the extension of Chris Jones, we have seen doubts dispelled and a defense rebuilt that has secured a dynasty.

These moves almost probably guarantee that Sneed will play somewhere in 2024, but they also demonstrate that the Chiefs are doing what they knew they needed to do in order to defend their back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

A new deal for Chris Jones was and should have been the top priority for the Chiefs this offseason.

There were various paths the Chiefs could have taken this offseason. Do you split ways with Jones and focus your efforts on re-signing Sneed, who, when coupled with All-Pro Trent McDuffie, forms the best cornerback tandem in the league? Or do you pay Chris Jones what the market would undoubtedly want and let Sneed walk? The answer is evident now, but if you look at the big picture of the Chiefs defensive scheme after the last two seasons—and really, the entire time Spagnuolo has been in Kansas City—it has always been clear.

Chris Jones is not an apex predator, but rather a keystone species. Whereas an apex predator like L’Jarius Sneed or other top-tier NFL defenders flourish and demand respect from their surroundings, a keystone species like Jones determines the entire ecology around them. Chris Jones is more than just a defensive lineman, especially in this version of the Chiefs’ defense.

Take a look at how Spags has schemed Jones over the last 2-3 seasons. He is not a three-tech defensive tackle or a one-tech inside run stopper. He’s lined up all over opposing offensive lines, practically stalking his target and breaking down tackles, guards, and centers around the league until he and Spagnuolo can identify a weak spot in an opposition offensive protection. Jones has made huge play after big play late in important games for Kansas City over the last two Super Bowls, thanks in large part to this technique.

However, when it comes to a player as gifted and flexible as Chris Jones, there is no single factor that influences a team’s performance. Spagnuolo’s ability to dial up blitzes at the right time—e.g., 3rd down late in the game against San Francisco when Trent McDuffie wrecked a play for the 49ers and forced another field goal—and his ability to make other teams sweat at the thought of yet another elaborate blitz sneaking up on them were on full display in Super Bowl 58. Those blitz packages could easily be called without Jones in the lineup, but their effectiveness would be significantly reduced without the early-game tinkering that Spags and Jones do.

Finding a weak point in an offense’s protection packages may be accomplished in a variety of ways, but having Jones expose vulnerabilities repeatedly is more useful than anything most interior defensive lineman can provide a team. The Chiefs could have manipulated the market by not paying top price for Jones, but in exchange, they would have acquired a considerably less productive player to fill a position that has been the most important piece of their defense during a dynasty.

Chris Jones will most likely not receive any MVP votes in 2024. Unless he has a career year in terms of sacks, he is unlikely to earn Defensive Player of The Year. However, he is a crucial member of a defense that has made one of the most spectacular postseason runs in NFL history. He is the best defensive player for the league’s top team. This is a move that the Chiefs have to make.

Kansas City Chiefs Lose All-Pro Super Bowl Hero To AFC Rival

The Kansas City Chiefs will lose one of their All-Pro players to an up-and-coming AFC franchise. The Chiefs were able to keep a few key players for the three-peat, but cap issues will prevent several players from returning for the 2024 season.

Tommy Townsend is set to join the Houston Texans

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Houston Texans are likely to sign Townsend to a two-year contract worth $6 million.

Townsend could face the Chiefs in the playoffs next season

Texans expected to sign ex-Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend - Yahoo Sports

 

Townsend was named an All-Pro and Pro Bowler for the 2022 season. In Kansas City, he will be remembered for a punt in the Super Bowl that was fumbled by Darrell Luter of the San Francisco 49ers special teams. The Chiefs took their first lead of the game after a fumble in the late third quarter.
Townsend will now join a talented Texans club that might jeopardize the Chiefs’ three-peat attempt next season. The Texans won a playoff game in C.J. Stroud’s first season with the franchise, and they should only improve in 2024.

The Chiefs intended to split ways with Townsend soon after the Super Bowl. In February, they signed Matt Araiza, a former Buffalo Bills punter.

 

 

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