As the holdout of Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones continues, Chiefs G.M. Brett Veach has made one thing clear.
Unlike a year ago, when the financial demands from receiver Tyreek Hill resulted in a different destination, Jones will not be shipped to a new team.
“I think for all parties, I think the best resolution would be for him to end his career as a Chief — and get that financial security — and for us to do what we had set out to do, and that’s to work through last offseason with this offseason in mind and get some young guys, which we did that, and then focus on this year and getting Chris done,” Veach told Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star. “Hopefully, we get this resolved, but we have no intentions of making a trade.”
In multiple other cases, a team saying it has “no intention” of trading a key player ends up trading him. The Chiefs, however, truly seem to be interested in keeping Jones around.
“He’s a great player, and he wants a big contract,” Veach said. “He deserves a big contract, and I don’t think there’s any surprises in that regard. But there’s just some hurdles we have to work through in regards to how we can keep this thing going for the short- and long-term. But we’ve never wavered on, ‘This is a guy that we want to exhaust all of our efforts to get done,’ because that’s how much we think of him.”
Jones is due to make $19.5 million in 2023, the final year of his current contract. His contract comes with a non-waivable daily fine of $50,000. He reportedly wants $30 million per year.
Veach pointed out that last year’s trade of Tyreek Hill came in part from the recognition that, eventually, the team would have to address Jones’s contract.
“[W]hen we did make that move with Tyreek, one of the determining factors was because there was an expected Chris Jones deal,” Veach said. “And so, to do Tyreek, there was a concern of, ‘Would we be able to do Chris?’ “And so that was a moment of time, and it was before the draft, that we hit the reset button. And we’re like, ‘You know, it’s really hard to trade a player the magnitude of Tyreek Hill.’ But we’re following that up with someone just as significant and on the defensive side.”
Hill could be replaced. Jones can’t be. That’s the basic reality. The question is whether they’ll get a deal done with Jones before Week One.
“You reach this point where you, I think, both parties want to just kind of take a deep breath and reset a little bit,” Veach said. “And then [the talks] become less frequent, but at the same time, I mean, the start of the season is [September 8]. So by nature, they’re gonna have to heat up again. And like I said, that’s why we’re still optimistic.”
That’s a roundabout way of acknowledging that there’s a deadline, and that it’s a deadline-driven business.
“Sometimes these things take some time,” Veach said. “So we’ll just continue to press away and work through that and hopefully make some movement here. We went into this, and as we’re having these ongoing dialogues, our intent and desire has always been to get Chris Jones secured for the foreseeable future, and we’re gonna press on with that mindset.”
They’ll press on, right until the deadline arrives. The real question is whether both player and team agree on precisely when the clock strikes twelve on getting something done.