Chris Jones has upped the stakes on his holdout with Week 1 of the NFL season on the horizon.
On Tuesday, a fan on social media asked the All-Pro defensive tackle when he planned to return to the Kansas City Chiefs. He responded succinctly: “Week 8.”
That means that Jones is willing to miss almost half the season in search of a new deal. So he says, at least.
Holdout is getting costly
If the holdout does reach that point, that means Jones is putting a lot of already agreed-upon money at risk. He’s already racked up a hefty fine with his holdout costing him $50,000 for each day of training camp missed. Once the holdout reaches the regular season, the stakes increase significantly.
Per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, players under contract who extend their holdouts to the regular season are fined a game check for each game missed. Jones is entering the final year of a four-year, $80 million deal and is due $20 million in 2023. That adds up to roughly $1.18 million per game. Extended over seven games, Jones would be risking roughly $8.2 million in fines in addition to his training camp and preseason tally, which will add up to more than $1.4 million.
He says he’s not worried about it.
Jones, 29, is seeking a raise after outplaying the terms of his current deal. He’s made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons and was first-team All-Pro in 2022 on a Chiefs team that won the Super Bowl. He tallied a career-high 15.5 sacks last season in addition to 44 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and four passes defended.
Per The Athletic’s Nate Taylor, Jones seeks to be rewarded as the league’s second-highest paid player at his position behind three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Donald’s playing on a three-year, $95 million deal worth $31.67 million annually. The Athletic reports that Jones is seeking $30 million per year. The two sides remain on different pages.
The Chiefs open their Super Bowl defense in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions. Through Week 7, they’ll face the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams. Two of those games are against teams (Jaguars, Jets) reasonably intent on challenging the Chiefs for AFC supremacy.
The sooner this gets settled, the better for all involved parties.