KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Defensive tackle Chris Jones indicated on social media that he’s willing to continue his holdout from the Kansas City Chiefs until Week 8 and that until then he’s willing to forfeit his weekly game check, in his case about $1.1 million dollars, because “I can afford it.”
Jones’ replies to fans came in a thread posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday when he posted a photo of a sign that read, “If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind also.”
— Chris Jones (@StoneColdJones) August 22, 2023
It’s difficult to gauge whether Jones is serious about holding out until midseason, is publicly posturing in his desire for a new contract or is just engaging with fans.
Jones previously has acknowledged that he at times posts to social media for reaction and suggested not to take every post seriously.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that “there’s been no communication” with Jones, so he’s not sure what’s going to happen with his star defensive tackle’s holdout.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, meanwhile, admitted Wednesday that Jones’ holdout has lasted longer than he anticipated.
“I don’t think anyone expected him not to be here now, but that’s part of the contract negotiation stuff. I’m not looking down on him for anything like that. He has stuff that he’s tried to get done that he feels like he needs to, to get done right now. I respect his decision,” he said.
Asked whether he expects to begin the season without Jones, Mahomes said he was holding out hope that won’t be the case.
“Not necessarily. I know that stuff, contract stuff, is hard to talk about because everybody wants to make money for their entire family and everything like that, but I know how much Chris loves the Chiefs. He loves being part of this organization.
“I just try to stay out of it and just tell Chris that I love him and that whenever he does come back, he will be welcome with open arms and we know that he’s preparing himself so that when he does get back, he can be that dominant player that he always has been.”
Mahomes added that he and his teammates have stayed in contact with Jones and that “he’s in good spirits.”
The four-year, $80 million contract Jones signed with the Chiefs in 2020 has one season remaining. When Jones didn’t report for the start of training camp, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter the sides are “far apart” on reaching an agreement on a new contract.
Jones is subjected to a daily fine of $50,000 for his training camp absence, according to the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the players’ association.
Multiple defensive tackles have signed massive contract extensions this offseason, including the New York Giants‘ Dexter Lawrence and Washington Commanders‘ Daron Payne, who each signed four-year, $90 million extensions. The Tennessee Titans signed Jeffery Simmons to a four-year, $94 million deal and the New York Jets signed Quinnen Williams to a four-year, $96 million contract.
After those deals, Jones’ average annual salary of $20 million now ranks eighth among defensive tackles, according to the Roster Management System.
Jones tied his career high last season with 15.5 sacks, which ranked fourth in the league and No. 1 among interior pass-rushers. He was named first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career after second-team selections in 2018, 2020 and 2021.
POST AUTHOR: Adam Teicher