The Kansas City Chiefs wasted no time in locking up Chris Jones for the 2020 season by on the Pro Bowl defensive lineman on the first day they were eligible to do so on Thursday. Jones is in guaranteed money with this tag, but he likely would have blown that number out of the water if he actually became an unrestricted free agent. And it appears as if he knows it.
During his appearance on Colin Cowherd's "The Herd" on FS1 on Thursday Jones reacted to the news about being tagged by Kansas City and the 25-year-old wasn't exactly doing cartwheels across the studio.
"It's like a mix of emotions," Jones admitted, "because you figure after four years, you do everything the right way within the team way, you try to stay under the line, out of trouble, and be a good citizen for the team and for the city. You expect to be rewarded. So when you're hit with a franchise tag, it can go different ways. You can feel like they're not valuing you or that they're not valuing what you can bring to the table. Or you can look at it as giving them time to get their horses in a cage and get something together."
Jones did say that he understands that there is a business aspect to the Chiefs, who reportedly view him as a long-term piece to their puzzle, placing the tag on him. Not only do they need to hammer out a deal with Jones, but reining Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is also due for an extension that will likely make him the highest-paid player in the NFL. Despite acknowledging those hurdles that the Chiefs have to jump over, it still seems to have left a bit of a sour taste in Jones' mouth.
"It's a little hard," he said. "It's like, 'Damn, what else y'all want me to do? I've got to go ahead and get 30 sacks -- 35 sacks -- to show y'all I can?"
Jones doesn't really have much else to prove to warrant a lucrative deal. He's already looked at as one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL and has been dominant throughout the course of his young career. He's totaled 31 sacks over the past three seasons and was a force in Kansas City's comeback win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Jones terrorized Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo by applying consistent pressure up the middle of the line of scrimmage and batted down three passes.
Given the greatness that he's already displayed, Jones, who has gone on record saying he wants to be a Chief for life, knows that he'll eventually see that big contract. It just depends on if it'll be Kansas City who gives it to him or not.
"But the beautiful thing about the franchise tag ... it can go one of two ways," Jones said. "The team can either long-term you, have you for the future, or they can trade you. Either way, I'll get paid benefits."
He added: "It would be nice to stay in Kansas City and stay with Mahomes. What they're building over there, what we're building is exceptional. I feel like we're building a dynasty. For [Chiefs general manager] Brett Veach, it's about looking at the team, analyzing what you can lose and what you have to keep."
In the immediate, we know that Jones is married to the Chiefs for the 2020 campaign. But, until they come to terms on that long-term deal, that's about all that's guaranteed at the moment it seems.