Will the Chiefs and Chris Jones get a deal done before Thursday?

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The Chiefs and defensive tackle Chris Jones continue to wait each other out on a deal that will end his holdout. There's definitely a deal to be made.

As explained on Saturday, the gap isn’t enormous. And Jones isn't trying to reset the market, despite claims from elsewhere that he is.

And the season starts on four days, in Kansas City.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The Chiefs are at $24.67 million per year over the next three years. The high-water mark (for now) for defensive players came from Aaron Donald, at $31.67 million. The midpoint, we're told, gets an acceptance from Jones.

The alternative for the Chiefs is to have up to seven weeks without him. This would allow him to get credit for the final year of his contract, and presumably be franchise-tagged in 2024.

While, on one hand, it would set the stage for a repeat of 2023 (without the fines, because he wouldn't be under contract), it also could prompt the Chiefs to consider trading him, and then replacing him through the draft.

They could have done that this year, if they'd realized the strength of his resolve. If one of the teams in the top 10 had been interested in one of the most disruptive defensive forces in football (and willing to pay him), the Chiefs could have gotten, say, Jalen Carter and started over again.

The trade option entails major risk for the Chiefs, because there's no guarantee they'll find someone who can do what Jones does. That's the conundrum this time around, and it's something that fairly should stick in Jones's craw. They need him too much to trade him.

Look at what they did with receiver Tyreek Hill. He had become a distraction with his behind-the-scenes demands for more throws his way. He then wanted top-of-market money. And, as a reward for becoming a pain in the ass, he got what he wanted — new team, big money, bigger role.

The Chiefs moved Tyreek because they believed they could win without him. They were proven right. The Chiefs arguably can't win without Jones. So they won't trade him.

Trading him now would make little sense, since they wouldn't get someone to replace him in return. The better time would be after the season, when they could draft the player who hopefully would become Chris Jones 2.0.

The best outcome would be to just work it out and keep him around. It seems close enough to get a deal done. Will they do it before Thursday night?

Tick. Tick. Tick.