Chris Jones was right all along.
The much-maligned Chiefs superstar engaged in a lengthy, distracting holdout in search of a long-term extension before reporting to the team on a reworked one-year deal, still seeking his multi-year payday.
With no long-term security, Jones is risking injury in hopes his play will prove he's worth a mammoth contract. Justin Jefferson was in the same boat, playing through the season with no contract after this season.
That hasn't gone so well.
Justin Jefferson Injury Proves Chris Jones Was Right
This is the exact thing Jones and his camp were right to fear the entire time. Jefferson will now miss at least four games with his future in doubt and tons of questions to answer over the next several months.
Were Jones to suffer a similar injury, it's difficult to envision him getting the kind of deal he's after in the offseason. Jefferson is still likely to become the league's highest-paid receiver, but he's much younger than the Chiefs' defensive anchor and plays a less physically-taxing position.
Jones will turn 30 before next season - teams could easily use his age and potential injury concern to drive his value down as a bargaining tactic. It's completely understandable and justifiable that Jones wants long-term security before risking his future every week, but he's back on the field doing just that nonetheless.
The risk hasn't stopped Jones from producing. He's playing perhaps his best football ever, compiling 4.5 sacks through four games despite fighting constant double teams. Jones is once again one of the most impactful defensive players on the planet, though one injury could change everything.
It's more obvious by the week how much the Chiefs defense benefits from Jones' presence, and I'm hopeful his play will force Kansas City's hand on an extension.
With a sack in seven consecutive games, Jones' consistency is unrivaled across the league, particularly on the interior defensive line. His team must be anxiously watching every play hoping he doesn't suffer a similar fate to Jefferson and that's all they can do.
Jones was right the entire time. Each week that passes, that fact grows more obvious. My fingers are crossed tight that he makes it through the year unscathed and gets the long-term security he deserves.
My other fingers are crossed that security comes from the Chiefs.
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