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Chiefs GM Brett Veach says re-signing Chris Jones is 'at the top' of team's to-do list

INDIANAPOLIS -- Sixteen days after making one of the biggest plays in the Chiefs' latest Super Bowl triumph, Chris Jones is again a headlining topic for Kansas City.

This time, though, it's not about the past, but what lies ahead for the All-Pro defensive tackle. After finishing the 2023 season on the highest of notes, Jones is headed toward the open market next month.

Chiefs general manager Brett Veach is aiming to prevent that from becoming a reality.

"He's at the top of the list," Veach said of Jones on Tuesday at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

Veach has recent experience negotiating with Jones. In September, Kansas City kicked off the 2023 season without Jones, who was holding out over a contract dispute revolving around his desire to land a long-term deal with the cap-strapped Chiefs.

After Jones sat out of the Chiefs' season-opening loss to Detroit -- a game in which his absence played a direct part in the Lions' ability to salt away the win on the ground -- both he and Chiefs management struck an agreement on a one-year deal. Now, they're preparing to meet once again, and this time, the goal is to secure his future well beyond 2024.

"I love Chris," Veach told reporters on Tuesday. "Tried really hard to get something done and we didn't. When we got together right after that Detroit game, we had a great talk. Both parties want to be here, so we'll get to work. He's certainly a guy we want back and love and want to see him finish his career in Kansas City."

Though it was only a temporary fix, the one-year deal proved incredibly valuable on the other end of the 2023 campaign, when the Chiefs were tasked with keeping the 49ers out of the end zone in overtime. On third-and-goal, Jones burst through San Francisco's offensive line, pressuring quarterback Brock Purdy into an incompletion and forcing the 49ers to settle for a field goal. That stop allowed Patrick Mahomes and Co. to drive down for the game-winning touchdown. 

Afterward, Jones admitted he was exhausted, but not without first basking in the glow of his third career Super Bowl victory.

Now, the Chiefs might need to use every option available to them -- including the franchise tag -- to keep Jones and star cornerback L'Jarius Sneed around for another run at a title. Veach admitted there's an increased sense of urgency with the tag deadline approaching next Tuesday, but also sees an avenue to get both deals done in time.

"We do have one tag and I anticipate probably using it to help us, but I think our goal is to get both of those players done," he said.

If anything, Veach's front office has proven to be the gold standard of remaining among the elites despite annual roster turnover. He'll have another huge hurdle to clear in the month ahead to uphold that reputation.

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