With less than a week left before the 2023 NFL season opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions, defensive tackle Chris Jones remains in a holdout. The Houston-born DT is in the final season of his current contract and seeks an extension that would cover his 30s. His stance includes a threat to sit out until midseason.
The complexity of Jones’ next contract is influenced by Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald’s exceptionally high average salary of $31.67 million. A series of recent defensive tackle extensions during the summer also further influence Jones’ stance, as these extensions have established a salary range that the Chiefs now aim to use as a reference point.
In 2022, the Rams granted Donald a substantial raise, even though he still had three years left on his contract. This was a rare move in the NFL. Donald, often regarded as the most outstanding defensive tackle in league history, had even mentioned the possibility of retirement.
Following a Super Bowl victory, the Rams yielded to Donald’s demands by offering him a contract that significantly diverged from the standard for defensive tackles. Most player agents have largely ignored this deviation in recent negotiations.
Over the past few months, Quinnen Williams, Jeffery Simmons, Daron Payne and Dexter Lawerence all inked extensions worth between $22.5 million and $24 million. The stark contrast between these deals and Donald’s annual average value lies at the heart of the dispute between Jones and the Chiefs.
Reportedly, Kansas City is prepared to replace Jones’ $19.5 million 2023 salary with a three-year, $74 million agreement spanning the 2023-2025 seasons. This proposed deal would guarantee Jones $70 million for injury, ranking him at the top among all defensive tackles.
The three-year, $74 million extension would translate to an annual paycheck of $24.67 million. While this amount is slightly above Williams, it is still well below Donald’s yearly earnings.
However, Jones seeks a middle ground between the Chiefs’ current offer and Donald’s $31.67 million. As per Florio, he is open to a three-year, $84.5 million deal, equating to an annual salary of approximately $28.17 million. Before next Thursday’s game, both sides must reconcile a roughly $10 million discrepancy.
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