The Athletic has live coverage of Heads vs. Lions In the NFL Week 1 opener.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Chris Jones sees some options for how — and where — to watch the Chiefs’ season-opener Thursday night against the Detroit Lions.
On the sidelines, next to his teammates, could be co-workers he hasn’t seen since mid-June when the Presidents were honored at the White House.
Another unlikely possibility, Jones said Wednesday, is that he could be in uniform with the rest of the Chiefs, which would spell a dramatic end to his stronghold, the biggest story of the Kansas City season.
Perhaps the most powerful outcome, according to league sources, is that Jones, a professional defensive player, watches his teammates perform from a stand inside Arrowhead Stadium.
“We’ll see,” said Jones, who appeared at the Ronald McDonald Charity in Kansas City as part of the Chiefs’ annual Red Wednesday fundraiser.
What Travis Kelsey’s absence means for the Chiefs on Thursday night
Jones committed to appearing earlier this summer as part of his partnership with McDonald’s. Jones knew that the net proceeds from the $10 red flags the Chiefs sold Wednesday would benefit the Ronald McDonald House.
Before entering the building, Jones met a large group of reporters for a seven-minute news conference.
In quick succession, Jones made clear, as best he could, the intentions of his opponents. He has said many times that he is asking for a raise, which is why he is seeking a lucrative contract extension. Jones said he did not ask for a trade and had no animosity towards club owner Clark Hunt, general manager Brett Veitch, or head coach Andy Reid.
“If a deal is reached, I will be there tomorrow,” Jones said. “It’s always been my goal to be Kansas City president for life. I’ve said that many times. They know where I stand. Hopefully we can come up with something for the long haul.”
According to a league source, the Chiefs last week offered Jones a fully guaranteed two-year extension worth $54.5 million, which would pay him an average annual salary of $27.5 million in 2024 and 2025.
“They feel like this is what I deserve,” Jones said. “I feel like I deserve more.”
Jones became even more excited when asked about the criticism he received – from analysts, former players and fans – for letting his teammates down.
“how?!” He said. “Who do you let down when you ask your boss for a raise? All I do is ask for a raise.”
Going into the final year of his four-year, $80 million contract, Jones wants an extension that pays him an average annual salary of $30 million, making him the second highest paid defensive tackle by a wide margin. Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams is the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, having signed a three-year, $95 million contract restructuring last summer. Quinn Williams of the New York Jets is No. 2 after signing a four-year, $96 million contract extension last month with $66 million guaranteed.
If Jones’ refusal results in him getting the extension he desires, he will become the third-highest-paid defensive player in the league behind 49ers rusher Nick Bosa, who agreed to a five-year, $170 million contract extension with $122.5 million guaranteed on Wednesday. and Donald.
“We will continue to press and work hard,” Fitch said last week. “(There’s) a lot of respect on both sides. It’s clear how we feel about Chris has been made very well. He feels the same way. We’re looking forward to Thursday, hopefully he’ll be in the squad and ready to go.
Why Chiefs coach Andy Reid is running the toughest training camp in the NFL
Last season, Jones led the Chiefs in sacks and quarterbacks by matching career highs of 15 1/2 and 29. He played 916 snaps – 80 percent of the unit’s total snaps – the most among Chiefs linebackers.
But since July 21, Jones has been fined $2.25 million for the 45 days he missed. Jones also forfeited his $500,000 pre-training camp workout bonus for not participating in the Chiefs offseason program. If he is not available against the Lions, he will forfeit his weekly match check of $1,083,333.
At 29 years old, Jones knows this is probably his best chance to increase his earning potential. While away from the Chiefs, Jones said he’s been training in Miami, doing two workouts every day with his longtime coach Pete Bomarito.
“I’ve been keeping in touch with my teammates,” Jones said. “I still do similar things to what they do in training camp. We’ve got a lot of new players. I miss the (camaraderie) side of it, but I’ll be ready to go when that time comes.
“I can play now. I’m fine.”
Jones said one of the reasons he stayed away from the chiefs – holding out rather than holding out – was that he didn’t want to become a distraction to his teammates. Last month, Jones announced on his X account, formerly Twitter, that his suspension could last until the eighth week. That’s the last he can offer the team and still earn a season due to fulfill the final year on his contract, which would make him an unrestricted free agent in the spring if he and the Chiefs can’t agree on a new deal. If that happens, Jones admitted for the first time on his wrist that this season could be his last in Kansas City.
“This is the answer that Clark Hunt has to give,” Jones said. “I asked for an extension. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been brought (to me) yet. We’ll just see where this goes. We’ve got a whole year to go, and things change.
“Things can change on any number of days. There are 24 hours in a day, 24 hours for feelings to change, attitudes to change, attitudes to change.
When asked about his message to Chiefs fans, Jones’ answer included a joke.
“Opinions are like butts,” Jones said with a smile. “Everyone has one and they all stink.” “Some (the fans) will like it, some will respect it and some won’t. You can’t make everyone happy, unfortunately.
A few minutes later, Jones was greeted with lots of smiles when he walked into Ronald McDonald’s house while carrying a tray to deliver Big Mac meals to more than 40 families who were surprised to see him.
In 90 minutes, Jones spent time with each family, chatting with parents and children and putting his signature on many items – red flags, footballs, T-shirts, T-shirts and caps.
“(I wanted to) put a smile on their faces and happiness in their hearts,” Jones said. “Respectfully, I work for the chiefs, and most importantly, it’s about giving back to the community and the children. Everything that happens with the chiefs is very different from what happens here.”
As he walked toward the exit, Jones received a chorus of cheers and applause. “See you, Chris!” one of the boys, wearing a white Chiefs shirt and red face mask, yelled.
Jones, smiling, replied with four words.
“I love you guys.”
(Photo: Nate Taylor/ the athlete)
The Football 100, the definitive ranking of the 100 greatest NFL players of all time, goes on sale this fall. Pre-order here.
(tags for translation) Kansas City Chiefs