Chris Jones said he still hopes to sign a new long-term deal with the Kansas City Chiefs and indicated he could be ready to play in the reigning Super Bowl champions’ season opener Thursday.
Jones spoke to reporters Wednesday while attending a team charity event at the Ronald McDonald House of Kansas City. The star defensive lineman declined to discuss specific details about his contract stalemate with the Chiefs but said he is simply “asking for a raise” and emphasized that he does not want to be a distraction to his teammates.
“I can’t really talk about it,” Jones said when asked about the negotiations. “Hopefully it gets worked out.
“It’s always been my goal to be a Kansas City Chief for life. I’ve said that multiple times on social media platforms, from interviews — and they know where my position is at. Hopefully we can get something worked out for the long term.”
As for the short term, the Chiefs begin their Super Bowl defense Thursday night against the Detroit Lions in the NFL’s season opener. Jones was asked how soon he could be ready to play if he reaches a new deal with the Chiefs.
“If a deal gets done, I can be out there tomorrow,” he said.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Tuesday that there was “no progress” in talks with Jones, who has one season left on the four-year deal he signed in 2020 but has yet to report as he seeks an improved contract. Jones was to be paid $80 million over the four years, and the $20 million average would make him the ninth-highest-paid defensive tackle this season.
Jones was asked Wednesday whether he was worried about letting down his teammates and compared his situation to that of any employee who is seeking a pay raise at work.
“How have I let them down?” Jones asked. “It’s just like when you’re at your job, and you ask for an extension — you ask for a raise. You’re not letting anyone down. Who are you letting down for asking your boss for a raise?
“So when you take the personal feelings out of it, you kind of get it. All I’m doing is asking for a raise.”
Jones, 29, reiterated that he was worried about being a “distraction” had he decided to “hold in” and attend offseason training camp and preseason workouts while negotiating a deal. The four-time Pro Bowler said he has spent his offseason training in Miami and “staying focused, understanding that this is a process.”
“I’ve been keeping in contact with my teammates,” he said. “I’m still working out every day, still doing similar things that they’re doing in training camp.
“The camaraderie — we’ve got a lot of new players. I miss that aspect of it, but I’ll be ready to go when the time [comes].”