Patrick Mahomes wants Chris Jones back in the fold with their Kansas City Chiefs as much as anyone.
However, the Chiefs quarterback is clear that Jones’ business as it relates to the defensive lineman’s current contract holdout is his business alone.
“I talk to Chris, not necessarily about contract stuff,” Mahomes said Wednesday, via team transcript. “That’s how I am about all things, I never talk about the contracts, I just talk about football, and how he’s doing. I mean he’s working out; he’s staying in shape. All of that will handle itself, and all I can do is just be supportive, be a teammate.”
It’s good news that Jones is staying fit and hopefully ready to go once he returns to the Chiefs, but news in terms of progress on contract talks has been null.
While the offense has commanded the spotlight during the Chiefs’ run among the NFL hierarchy, Jones has led the way for an underrated defense that has come up clutch down the stretch of many a playoff run.
Though Mahomes rightfully receives accolades and appreciation for driving the Chiefs to the top of the NFL world, the quarterback’s ascension and Jones’ as one of the top defensive linemen in the game have run parallel.
Jones joined Kansas City as a second-round pick in 2016, just a year prior to Mahomes being selected in the first round. Both broke out in 2018 with Jones racking up 15.5 sacks and Mahomes becoming Mahomes to the tune of an otherworldly MVP campaign in which he threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. Since then, the two have been catalysts for the Chiefs advancing to three Super Bowls and winning a pair of Lombardi Trophies.
Thus, Mahomes is pining for No. 95’s return to the practice field, even if he’s not getting involved.
“I mean, that’s one of the guys that’s been a staple to this organization for a long time,” Mahomes said, “so hopefully we get him back in camp as soon as possible.”
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Jones has been missing in action dating back to mandatory minicamp and now since the first day of Chiefs training camp on July 22.
The four-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman is looking for an extension ahead of the final year of his current four-year, $80 million deal.
Coming off a career year that featured 44 tackles and matching his career-high sack total, Jones is due $19.5 million in base salary. He also has no guaranteed money left on his contract.
At an average annual salary of $20 million for his contract, Jones sits at ninth among interior defensive linemen with the likes of Quinnen Williams, Dexter Lawrence and Daron Payne having inked extensions this offseason that put them in the $20 million-per club. They’re all trailing the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald, who’s making $31.6 million per year — north of $6 million more than second-place Williams. It’s likely Jones envisions moving into Donald’s neighborhood.
Right now, Mahomes and Co. are hoping to have him back in the neighborhood of St. Joseph, Missouri for training camp, but with August dawning, the wait for Jones’ return — and a new deal that will go with it — continues.
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