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This Chiefs’ All-Pro Defender Could Be Traded After 2022

Chris Jones has been the best defensive player on the Kansas City Chiefs since he was drafted in 2016. The Chiefs drafted Jones with the 37th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was the first player the team drafted in that class after they traded away their first-round pick. The Chiefs traded picks 28 and 249 to the San Francisco 49ers for the 37th, 105th, and 178th picks. This was a brilliant trade as the Chiefs got the best player left in the draft while acquiring two higher picks.

For those curious, the Chiefs drafted Parker Ehinger and DJ White with those picks. Fans may remember that Ehinger was later traded for Charvarius Ward. So the Chiefs traded back and ended up with two major pieces of a Super Bowl-winning team. I’d say the Chiefs won that trade big time!

Jones has been great for the Chiefs and is one of my personal favorites. He reminds me a lot of Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals. Someone who truly plays the game like you or me would. They both seem to understand that they are getting paid to play a kid’s game that is meant to be fun. Both of them have fun on the field, have fun in press conferences, and connect with regular fans as few other players can.

Besides being a fan favorite and great guy, he’s regarded nearly unanimously, as the second-best defensive tackle in football. Throughout many other periods of NFL history, he’d be the best. Instead, he is playing at the same time as the greatest defensive tackle of all time, Aaron Donald.

Through six seasons, Jones has averaged just over eight sacks, 33 tackles and five passes deflected a season. He’s also forced 10 fumbles, recovering two, and has two interceptions. His regular-season dominance and fan-friendly attitude earned him a four-year, $85 million contract prior to the 2020 season. That contract left the Chiefs with a possible out following the 2022 season. How much longer can we expect Chris Jones to remain in Kansas City?

Some Question Marks Leave Jones’ Future For The Chiefs In Doubt

It has not been all roses during his time with the Chiefs. He’s had the minor injury bug every season thus far. He never has major injuries like ACL or Achilles tears, but every year he misses a few games due to minor issues. I worry that as he gets older, those little injuries will start to add up and lead to major injuries.

Then comes his playoff history. We all remember the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. He was dominating and batted down three passes that helped shut down the 49er offense. This was a major factor in the Chiefs’ comeback. But can you remember any other Chris Jones moment in the playoffs?

It is hard to. That’s because he has zero career sacks in his 13 playoff game appearances. In those same 13 playoff games, he’s averaged just over one tackle and less than one pass defended per game. He’s also forced zero turnovers. Basically, Jones has been a non-factor in 12 of the Chiefs’ 13 playoff games while he has been on the roster. To put it maybe more harshly, he’s the Lamar Jackson of defensive players. Amazing regular-season player, but disappears when the playoffs come around.

It pains me to write this, but Jones is not worth big money in Kansas City. His cap hit in 2022 is $29 million, which is three million more than Donald’s. When a worse player is paid more than a better player, that is a bad look for the team paying the lesser player. Now we aren’t talking about Dan Sorenson being paid more than Jamaal Adams here. Jones is still a top-level player in the league, but is he truly worth his contract?

To me, the answer to that is unfortunately no. I love Jones being on this team, but the NFL is a hard cap league and the Chiefs are trying to win Super Bowls. I compared him to Perez for the Royals, and I want the Royals to pay whatever it takes to keep him. That is because the Royals don’t often win and he’s one of just two or three bright spots. They have a very slim chance of winning a ring (and baseball has no salary cap) so at least let the fans keep a future Hall of Famer around.

Jones does not help the Chiefs when the playoffs start. He turns into Khalen Saunders once the playoffs start. Would the Chiefs want to pay Saunders over $20 million a year? The answer is no. So put your love for the player aside, and ask yourself what is better for the team? Is it paying Jones $27 million next year, the final year of his contract? Is it extending Jones for likely at least $20 million per year for four or five years? Or is it trading Jones for a Tyreek Hill type of trade?

A Future Chris Jones Trade Is The Best Answer For The Chiefs

My answer is the same answer I had when discussing Hill; a trade is what is best for the team. As a huge fan of Jones, I understand the initial shock and anger when you see that answer. However, you have to put personal feelings aside when talking about what is best for the team. Jones is getting older. His injuries are getting more significant and he disappears in the playoffs.

The regular season is nearly meaningless for the Chiefs. As long as Patrick Mahomes starts the majority of the games for the Chiefs, they will make the playoffs every year. Does it really matter if we win 14 games or ten games? No, because once the playoffs start we will always have the better quarterback. What matters is the playoffs, and if you disappear in the playoffs, Kansas City can’t pay you over $20 million a season.

After this season, the Chiefs must talk to Jones and tell him that we just can’t pay him what he can get paid. There are teams who will pay him millions more than we should, so let him find two or three teams he will be happy signing with. Then the Chiefs work the best trade possible from that list and deal Jones prior to the 2023 NFL draft. This will give the Chiefs the draft capital and salary flexibility to get younger and better at multiple positions just as they did with Hill’s trade.

Trading a fan favorite always stinks. However, nobody on the Chiefs should be untouchable except for Patrick Mahomes. We have shown that with the Hill trade. We should see that proven again with a Jones trade after the 2022 season. We need to all learn to cheer for the name on the front of the jersey more than the name on the back. That is what the most successful franchises do.

What is Chris Jones’ future with Kansas City? Leave a comment below to enter the discussion!

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