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The NFL might have another Le’Veon Bell situation on its hands.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones threatened to take the Bell route on Tuesday, saying on Twitter that he won’t play without a major contract extension. How major are we talking about? Jones essentially indicated how much he’d settle for in the tweet he replied to.
Jones was indirectly replying to a tweet from NFL Network reporter Mike Garofalo, who said that an extension between Jones and the Chiefs was unlikely by the July 15 deadline as the Chiefs hadn’t offered a deal worth at least $20 million a year. That tweet was quote tweeted by Chiefs blog Arrowhead Live, and Jones’ reply indicated that he’s looking for $20 million a year or more.
Jones, 25, cited Bell directly, meaning that he’d either spoken to him about it or was inspired by Bell sitting out the entire 2018 season over a contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If Jones signs his franchise tender, he’ll make $16.1 million this year.
His informal contract demands put him in elite company. There are only two other defensive tackles making at least $20 million a year: Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams and DeForest Buckner of the Indianapolis Colts.
Jones may not be equal to them, but he has made a strong case for a major extension. In 2019 he made 36 tackles (eight for a loss), nine sacks and had 20 quarterback hits. In the Chiefs’ victory at Super Bowl LIV, he deflected three passes and applied pressure that directly led to an interception.
The Chiefs may not agree with Jones. On NFL Network, Garofalo said that while Jones considers himself a $20 million-a-year player, “the Chiefs never did,” and haven’t offered him that much yet. And beyond that, the Chiefs also have a future contract extension with Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes to think about, which will rightly cost them quite a bit.
Bell never got his contract extension from the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was eventually released by the team and signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the New York Jets. Jones might want to remember that when he’s considering a holdout. He might get his money, but he might have to get it somewhere other than Kansas City.
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