It would seriously hurt the Kansas City Chiefs if they lost defensive lineman Chris Jones in free agency. It would hurt even more if they lost him to a division rival. Bleacher Report speculates that the Las Vegas Raiders could make a play for Jones this offseason, which would massively upgrade the club’s defense and make it a force in the AFC West.
Jones entered the season embroiled in a contract dispute with the Chiefs and missed Week 1 because of it. However, the two sides came to a one-year, $19.5 million agreement shortly after, and Jones was back on the field for Kansas City’s Week 2 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In three games this year, Jones has logged six tackles and 3.5 sacks.
The 29-year-old, who played his collegiate football at Mississippi State, was originally selected by the Chiefs in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
After a couple of solid seasons to begin his professional career, Jones broke out in 2018, racking up 40 tackles, 15.5 sacks, an interception, a couple of forced fumbles and five passes defended.
Somehow, Jones’ spectacular third season did not result in a Pro Bowl appearance, but he would proceed to be rewarded with four consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl between 2019 and 2022.
Chris Jones’ best campaign to date came last year, when he rattled off 44 tackles, 15.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a pair of fumble recoveries and four passes defended, also earning himself a First-Team All-Pro selection.
The Houston, Ms. native is expected to become the highest paid defensive lineman in the league once he hits the open market in the spring. Whether or not the Chiefs can afford to retain him remains to be seen, but they would surely like to keep him away from the Raiders so he doesn’t wreak havoc against Patrick Mahomes and Co. twice a year.
Kansas City is 2-1 and will take on the New York Jets on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas sits at 1-2 and will battle the Los Angeles Chargers the same day.