Kansas City Chiefs' Chris Jones says he 'won't play' without new long-term contract
Chris Jones is sending a message to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ahead of the July 15 deadline for players to agree to multi-year contracts, the Pro Bowl defensive tackle stated he won't settle for playing on the franchise tag this season, saying Tuesday he "won't play" if not given a long-term deal of his liking.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported earlier in the day that Jones, who has not signed his tender, has "always viewed himself as a $20 million-plus-per-year guy." The Chiefs, however, do not share that valuation, Garafolo reported, leaving "a lot of work to be done" if the two sides are to reach a multi-year contract.
Jones responded on Twitter to a video of Garafolo's report, saying, "Or I won't play. Le'Veon Bell told me about this."
Bell sat out the entire 2018 NFL season amid a dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who placed the franchise tag on him for the second consecutive year. The three-time Pro Bowl running back signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the New York Jets last March.
Jones, 25, has established himself as one of the leading forces of the Chiefs defense, recording 31 sacks in the last three years. He notched nine sacks last year and deflected three passes in Super Bowl LIV to help Kansas City win its first title in 50 years.
Jones would make $16.1 million in 2020 if he opts to play on the franchise tender.
Kansas City has already committed a sizable sum to its core players, including defensive end Frank Clark, who agreed to a five-year, $104 million deal with the team last April after being acquired in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. Clark agreed in March to restructure part of his contract to help the Chiefs get under the salary cap. Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is also expected to receive a potentially record-breaking extension.
General manager Brett Veach said in February at the NFL scouting combine that retaining Jones was a "priority' for the team.
“I think the tandem of Chris Jones and Frank Clark is something any team would want," Veach said. "We’re going to work hard to see if we can get that done.”