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More money for Chris Jones: Chiefs star hauls in $4 million, but why?

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More money for Chris Jones: Chiefs star hauls in $4 million, but why?

 

The Kansas City Chiefs face an uphill battle to keep a Super Bowl championship-winning roster together for 2024. General manager Brett Veach will have to get crafty in order to retain key free agents like cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and defensive tackle Chris Jones — two of the NFL’s premier players at their respective positions.

 

More money for Chris Jones: Chiefs star hauls in $4 million, but why?

With just over $20 million in projected available cap space, the Chiefs won’t be able to retain everybody, which could be bad news for Kansas City’s other unrestricted free agents, such as Super Bowl LVIII hero Mecole Hardman.

However, Sneed and Jones are regarded as the priorities in the Chiefs front office among players the franchise wants to retain the most. On Friday, the Chiefs took an important procedural step toward keeping Jones in the fold for 2024 and ensuring their defensive line would keep its anchor.

Why Jones is getting an additional $4 million
The Chiefs picked up a team option on Jones’ contract on Friday, which will net the 29-year-old just over $4 million in incentives. Kansas City is doing this as a formal mechanism to — potentially — apply the franchise tag to Jones or work toward reaching a contract extension with him.

Jones agreed to an incentive-laden one-year contract with the Chiefs in September, after he held out of training camp, preseason, and their Week 1 loss to the Detroit Lions.

The amended terms of his contract saw him receive a package of incentives that raised his salary to $25 million — in league with other elite defensive linemen — and over $18 million guaranteed. Jones has made it clear that he has little interest in accepting a below-market deal — but if he really wants to stick around at Arrowhead Stadium, he may have to make a sacrifice or two.

Although Jones’ stated preference is to remain in Kansas City, the free agent market — and the Chiefs’ salary cap maneuvering — could dictate otherwise.

Patrick Mahomes could restructure his contract and defer some money into the future, but the three-time Super Bowl MVP has to agree to a second such restructuring in as many years.

If the Chiefs cannot clear the cap room to fit in Jones’ new contract — whether he takes some kind of “hometown discount” or not — then the two-time first-team All-Pro could command a record-breaking salary.

Jones’ next contract could push the $100 million plateau with a potential $30 million per year salary — putting him on par with Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald and ahead of every other defensive tackle.

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