What Daron Payne’s contract means for the Chiefs and Chris Jones

The Commanders just paid Daron Payne, one of the league’s premier young defensive tackles. Here’s what that means for Chiefs’ Chris Jones.

Many of NFL franchises’ most crucial decisions revolve around who to extend and who to let go in free agency, and there’s a sense the Kansas City Chiefs aren’t going to let Chris Jones go.

The star defensive tackle has publicly stated he wants to remain with the Chiefs for the remainder of his career; if that’s a mutual feeling, Kansas City and Jones will more than likely be negotiating a contract extension this offseason.

Jones, who racked up 15.5 sacks last season, carries a $28 million cap hit into the 2023 season, which is less than desirable for a championship-caliber team that wants to continue fortifying its roster.

Jones last signed a four-year, $80 million contract that makes him the fourth-highest paid defensive tackle in overall value. He was the third-highest paid tackle until the Washington Commanders went and paid Daron Payne a market-resetting amount of money.

On Sunday, Payne received a four-year, $90 million deal with $60 million in guaranteed money, ranking him just below Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald at the top of the market. Good news for Chiefs fans: Payne’s extension doesn’t really affect Jones, but only because Kansas City was projected to pay Jones way more money regardless.

Chiefs: Chris Jones is primed to get paid as the league’s top defensive tackle

The 2022 DPOY candidate enters the final year of his current contract in 2023, and both sides will probably want to get a deal done sooner rather than later.

The onus lies on the Chiefs to come up with a fair deal, and Kansas City could be waiting for other defensive tackle dominoes to fall before securing Jones: New York Giants’ Dexter Lawrence, Tennessee Titans’ Jeffery Simmons, and New York Jets’ Quinnen Williams are all elite DTs up for new contracts this offseason.

Jones stands to make more than each of them, yet waiting to see how much those players get paid could help give the defensive tackle market more shape and reassure the Chiefs that they aren’t overpaying Jones.

According to Spotrac, Jones’ market value is $30 million a year. Should the Chiefs give him that bag, Jones would join Donald as the top two highest-paid defensive tackles in the league. The 28-year-old arguably outplayed Donald last season and had a heavy hand in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run (that end-of-game sack on Joe Burrow in the AFC Championship comes to mind), cementing his franchise status along with offensive starlets Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.

Last offseason, the Chiefs reportedly traded Tyreek Hill because the two sides differed on the issue of guaranteed money and scheme usage, among other reasons. With a player like Jones who has ingratiated himself into the franchise and clearly wants to be here for a long time, Kansas City shouldn’t run into too many problems.

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