KC Chiefs DE Chris Jones: NFL holdout, contract discuss, raise
Kansas City Chiefs star defensive end Chris Jones says it has not been frustrating for him to be away from the team and teammates while holding out for a contract extension, emphasizing Wednesday that he simply wants a raise.
Jones, 29, spoke Wednesday morning before an appearance at Ronald McDonald House of KC, which serves the families of sick children. In doing so, Jones gave his first public comments in months after missing both mandatory minicamp and training camp.
He said Wednesday that he still desires an agreement to be worked out with the Chiefs.
“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,” Jones said. “And they know where my position is at. Hopefully we can get something worked out for the long term.”
In the last year of his contract with KC, which pays him a base salary of $19.5 million in 2023, Jones says he has been preparing for the season by working out twice a day with trainers in Miami.
When asked if holding out has been frustrating, he said, “Not at all.”
“It’s been OK. Peaceful for me,” Jones said. “I’ve been in Miami, just training, staying focused. Understanding that this is a process.”
Recent media reports have stated the two sides’ difference is as much as $10 million over two seasons. The Chiefs have reportedly offered Jones two additional seasons for $54.5 million in new money.
Jones said he has kept in touch with his teammates during his holdout. He also said he’ll be ready to play when the time comes.
When asked if he felt he was letting his Chiefs teammates down by holding out, Jones emphatically said no.
“How? That’s what I’ve got to ask. How have I let them down?” Jones said. “It’s just like, when you’re at a job, and you ask for an extension, right? You ask for a raise, right? You’re not letting anyone down. Who are you letting down, for asking your boss for a raise, right?
“When you take the personal feelings out of it, you kind of can get it. All I’m doing is asking for a raise.”
Jones, when questioned whether he still intended to be a Chiefs player in 2024 and beyond, stated he could only say he was under contact now.
“That’s an answer for Clark Hunt to make,” Jones said, referring to the Chiefs owner.
Jones said he planned to watch the Chiefs’ season opener Thursday against the Detroit Lions. He couldn’t say where yet, even suggesting that he could still play or potentially be on the sidelines.
How long would it take him to be ready to play once his contract was resolved? Jones claimed a short amount of time.
“I can play right now,” Jones said of his conditioning. “I’m good.”
Jones declined to say whether he’d consider playing for the Chiefs in the last year of his deal without a new extension. He also previously stated on social media that he might hold out as long as Week 8, and Jones didn’t make clear Wednesday whether that remained a potential timeline.
“We shall see. Right now, it’s Week 1, so we shall see how this thing goes,” Jones said. “Things can change in a matter of days. There’s 24 hours in a day, right? So it’s 24 hours for feelings to change, positions to change and situations to change. All we can do is take it an hour at a time.”
Jones explained why he had decided not to attend practice while still having his agency work on negotiating a long-term deal, saying he didn’t want to be a distraction to the team.
“I could have done a ‘hold-in,’ but that’s even more of a distraction,” Jones said. “I’d be there holding in, while all the guys are there, you know what I mean? Just a bigger distraction.”
Jones said Wednesday that he didn’t think there was any animosity between his side and Chiefs general manager Brett Veach. Jones described the ongoing negotiation as “just a little disagreement,” while later saying, “They feel like this is what I deserve. I feel like I deserve more. Just a misunderstanding.”
So what, Jones was asked, is his current message for Chiefs fans?
“What can I say? Opinions are like buttholes: everybody’s got them and they all stink, right?” Jones said with a smile. “So there’s some gonna like it, some gonna respect it, and some is gonna dislike it. That’s just the way it is. You can’t make everybody happy, unfortunately. As much as you try to do it — as much as you try to appease people — you’re not gonna make everyone happy, unfortunately.”
Jones signed flags and passed out McDonald’s food for over an hour Wednesday morning and afternoon at Ronald McDonald’s House KC. He said his trip to Kansas City for the event was to support the children.
“Bring a smile to their faces and happiness to their heart,” Jones said, “and love to Chiefs Kingdom.”
This story was initially revealed September 6, 2023, 1:10 PM.