It has been almost four months since the Kansas City Chiefs were crowned champions of the National Football League at Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
Even though a third of a year has passed, not much has happened for the Chiefs and the rest of the league in its normally busy offseason. The draft combine was held a couple of weeks before the coronavirus pandemic began. The draft became a completely virtual affair that saw the Chiefs make exciting additions to their roster. Other than that, it has been a quiet stretch of time the NFL is not used to seeing.
For the Chiefs, the news has been slow with the highlights of the offseason so far being Bashaud Breeland’s arrest in South Carolina and the contract conversations – or lack of – with Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones. The latter has led to way too much speculation about where the team’s priorities are and what these decisions will mean for the coming seasons.
In a perfect world, Jones would already be signed for the $20 million per year contract he reportedly wants but that will almost certainly never happen in Kansas City because of what Mahomes demands.
As optimistic as I would like to be about Jones’ contract situation, the recent report that the two parties were not engaged in those talks makes me think he will play on the franchise tag this season before being traded next offseason. This situation isn’t similar to what happened with Dee Ford’s trade to the San Francisco 49ers. Jones has shown over multiple seasons now that he is the best player in the Chiefs’ front seven while Ford had his best season after years of injury and performance concerns prior to his trade.
On the surface, nothing should get in the way of Mahomes’ mega-deal that could be signed and done by the end of the summer, but Jones’ impact cannot be matched by any other player on the defense. Make no mistake, Mahomes will be the highest-paid player in the league when the ink is dried on his contract, but the way the Chiefs make that happen will decide Jones’ and other players’ fate.
The Mahomes contract will be massive and likely create salary cap concerns that general manager Brett Veach will have to solve. In the meantime, there won’t be any salary cap concerns for the franchise’s Super Bowl defense.
Jason Brown is the sports editor of the Leavenworth Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org