Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones did his best to play Mr. Brightside when he learned the franchise tag was imminent on Thursday.
"The beautiful thing about the franchise tag -- that it can go one of two ways," Jones said via Fox Sports. "The team can either long-term you to have you for the future, or they can trade you. Either way, I'll get paid benefits."
Jones and the Chiefs are planning to negotiate toward a long-term contract agreement, but the only guarantee once the prohibitive marker is used will be Jones' 2020 salary. Based on numbers expected to change if the CBA extension is ratified before the March 12 franchise deadline, Jones will make at least $16 million next season. The highest-paid defensive players in the NFL are in the same ballpark, but with the upside of long-term guarantees and a signing bonus.
"It's like a mix of emotions, because you figure after four years, (doing) everything the right way -- within the team way -- you try to stay under the line, out of trouble, and be a good citizen for the team and for the city, you expect to be rewarded," Jones said. "So when you're hit with a franchise tag, it can go different ways. You can feel like they're not valuing you -- that they're not valuing what you can bring to the table. Or you can look at it as giving them time to get their horses in a cage and get something together."
The Chiefs are limited in their mobility beneath the existing salary cap. But moves are expected to free up space, including restructuring wide receiver Sammy Watkins' deal, to address pressing moves that include the contract of running back Damien Williams.
Jones had 15.5 sacks in 2018 and formed a dynamic defensive line duo with Frank Clark -- tagged by the Seattle Seahawks last March and traded to the Chiefs -- last season. Clark signed a five-year, $104 million deal with the Chiefs.
--Field Level Media