Kansas City Chiefs star defensive tackle Chris Jones continues to hold out from training camp as sides work through a potential contract solution ahead of the 2023 season.
"I think for all parties, I think the best resolution would be for him to end his career as a Chief -- and get that financial security -- and for us to do what we had set out to do, and that's to work through last offseason with this offseason in mind and get some young guys, which we did that, and then focus on this year and getting Chris done," Veach told the Star on Monday. "Hopefully, we get this resolved, but we have no intentions of making a trade."
Veach noted that the calculus in trading Hill to Miami in March 2022 included the knowledge Jones' pay day was coming down the pike.
"You have to keep in mind that when we did make that move with Tyreek, one of the determining factors was because there was an expected Chris Jones deal," Veach said. "And so, to do Tyreek, there was a concern of, 'Would we be able to do Chris?' And so that was a moment of time, and it was before the draft, that we hit the reset button. And we're like, 'You know, it's really hard to trade a player the magnitude of Tyreek Hill.' But we're following that up with someone just as significant and on the defensive side."
Jones is due to make $19.5 million in 2023, the final year of his contract. The $20 million-per-year average on his four-year, $80 million deal inked in 2020 has since been leapfrogged by several defenders. Jones currently ranks ninth-highest among all DTs. Five of those players making more than the four-time Pro Bowler inked their contracts this offseason.
"He's a great player, and he wants a big contract. He deserves a big contract, and I don't think there's any surprises in that regard," Veach said of Jones. "But there's just some hurdles we have to work through in regards to how we can keep this thing going for the short- and long-term. But we've never wavered on, 'This is a guy that we want to exhaust all of our efforts to get done,' because that's how much we think of him."
Skipping camp subjects Jones to a non-waivable fine of $50,000 per day.
Defending their Super Bowl championship, the Chiefs need Jones on the field. He's the glue that holds the entire defense together.
"You reach this point where you, I think, both parties want to just kind of take a deep breath and reset a little bit. And then (the talks) become less frequent, but at the same time, I mean, the start of the season is Sept. 7," Veach said. "So by nature, they're gonna have to heat up again. And like I said, that's why we're still optimistic."
The deadline is Week 1. Now it's on Jones and Veach to meet it so the Chiefs can work toward lifting their second straight Lombardi.