On Tuesday, two NFL defensive superstars cemented massive extensions with their teams. The Kansas City Chiefs and Chris Jones reached a new deal shortly after the team agreed to a record-setting contract worth up to $503 million with quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Cleveland Browns also entered the final steps of completing a deal with defensive end Myles Garrett.
The franchise tag deadline is July 15, which means Jones and the Chiefs barely beat the clock on hammering out an extension. The Pro Bowl defensive tackle threatened to hold out a few weeks ago instead of playing under the franchise tag, citing Le’Veon Bell’s experience in 2018 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Jones’ extension is for four years and $80 million with an extra $5 million in incentives. Some of the deal’s specifics include $37 million due at signing and $60 million guaranteed for injury. The new deal begins this season and takes the place of Jones’ franchise tag.
Jones becomes the third defensive tackle in the NFL to make an average of $20 million a year, joining Aaron Donald ($22.5 million annually) and DeForest Buckner ($21 million annually). Buckner signed his deal earlier this offseason.
Jones played a crucial role on Kansas City’s defense over the past two seasons. During that time, he accumulated 24.5 sacks, 49 quarterback hits, and 76 tackles in 29 games. Jones missed the Divisional Round matchup of Kansas City’s recent playoff run, but he made up for it by swatting down three passes in the Super Bowl.
Shortly after the Jones signing, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Browns made significant progress toward giving Myles Garrett a five-year, $125 million extension. The deal includes $100 million in guarantees and $50 million guaranteed at signing. It isn’t clear how much of the $125 million is in incentives, and the deal isn’t finalized. However, Garrett and the Browns are close to signing the contract.
Dallas’ Demarcus Lawrence is the NFL’s highest-earning defensive end in terms of annual salary. He makes $21 million a year, but Garrett’s final total could shatter that if the $125 million doesn’t include any incentives. Assuming Garrett’s extension pays out $25 million annually, he’ll become the highest-paid defender in the NFL. Only seven defensive players make at least $20 million a year. Khalil Mack currently holds the record at $23.5 million annually.
Two years remain on Garrett’s rookie deal, which means his extension runs through the 2026 season. Garrett will be 30 years old when the contract ends and could still sign another three or four-year deal worth a hefty payday. In the first 37 games of his career, Garrett amassed 30.5 sacks, 65 quarterback hits, and 104 tackles. He made the Pro Bowl in 2018.
Perhaps even more telling than who received new contracts on July 14 were the players who didn’t. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Dallas Cowboys aren’t close to a contract extension with quarterback Dak Prescott. This means the July 15 deadline will pass without a long-term deal getting done. Per Rapoport, the Denver Broncos and franchise-tagged safety Justin Simmons aren’t expected to reach a deal either.