I haven’t been worried yet, but it may officially be time to hit the panic button on Chris Jones’ holdout.
He still hasn’t reported to training camp and despite being under contract for this season, the murmurs we’re hearing don’t suggest the Chiefs are close to signing a deal with the DPOY finalist.
Aaron Donald is the league’s highest-paid defensive tackle at well over $30 million per year, so it’s not unreasonable that the Chiefs don’t want to eclipse such a high total.
Nonetheless, this report from Nate Taylor of The Athletic is concerning. Chris Jones performed comparably to Donald in the last two seasons and if he’s demanding a salary in Donald’s range, we could be hurtling towards a divorce after this year.
Hit the Panic Button on Chris Jones’ Holdout?
Chiefs fans are well aware of Jones’ impact. He dominated the playoffs last year to ease the load off Patrick Mahomes’ injured ankle, helping the defense hold Jacksonville and Cincinnati to just 20 points.
Jones had perhaps his finest year as a pro in 2022-23, posting a career-high 44 tackles with 15.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He’s a one-man wrecking crew, routinely drawing double teams and making life easier for the rest of the Chiefs’ defense.
Kansas City doesn’t have an heir-apparent on the roster for Jones, so he should still be in the team’s plans. When the Chiefs moved on from players in the past, they always had a replacement ready. Think George Karlaftis for Frank Clark or L’Jarius Sneed for Charvarious Ward.
It remains to be seen how this saga plays out, but every day that passes and piece of news that leaks draws me closer to panic.