Chris Jones is a very happy man after signing a new deal!
Kansas city Chiefs DT Chris Jones discusses his new 4-year, $85 million ($60 million guaranteed) contract. Footage courtesy of and provided by Chiefs:
About This Sports Courier NFL Video: Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones discusses his new contract with the defending Super Bowl Champions, what went into negotiations, how quarterback Patrick Mahomes helped him stay, and whether or not they can become NFL’s next great dynasty! Full transcript via Chiefs below:
GENERAL MANAGER BRETT VEACH: “I just want to welcome everyone to this Zoom call. We’re certainly excited to formally announce our contract extension with the CEO of Sack Nation, Chris Jones. Over the last few years, Chris has really proven to be an elite player at his position and really one of the best defensive players in the National Football League. With that being said, Chris is equally as talented off the field, our fans love him, our community loves him. Again, just can’t say how excited and thrilled we are to continue his career here. For how much he’s accomplished already, we certainly feel he’s just scratching the surface. With his age and his talents, we’re certainly expecting more great things to come. Before I turn it over to Coach, I want to again thank my outstanding staff that works on the second floor, Brandt Tilis and Chris Shea, for the hard work they’ve done.
We’ve certainly had a very busy offseason, but these guys have been relentless and we’re certainly excited to get a lot of the things that we wanted to when we set out on the offseason done. And then the Katz brothers – Michael and Jason Katz – before this process started, I had a lot of respect for those guys. But as we’ve gone through this process, that respect has grown substantially just because they’ve been patient with us throughout this whole process, they put their trust in us, we trusted them, and we knew that we just needed a little time to get this thing done because all parties were committed to keeping Chris in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform for a long time. So, we’re certainly appreciative of their help and their understanding. With that being said, I’d like to turn it over to Coach Reid.”
HEAD COACH ANDY REID: “Thanks Brett. Congratulations to Chris Jones. This is so well deserved. He’s done everything that he’s needed to do to become a top defensive tackle in the National Football League. He probably could be the same thing at defensive end on the outside as he is on the inside. He’s very talented, he brings a great personality to our football team.
Nothing’s impossible in his mind, and that’s the way he goes about it. I’ve been proud of the commitment he’s given to the organization and how he’s handled himself in the weight room, in the classroom, on the field, and in the community, he’s been tremendous. My hat also goes off to Brett and his crew, with Brandt (Tilis) and Chris (Shea), that they’ve done another phenomenal job, along with the Katz brothers.
I always joke with the Katz brothers that really the only reason we signed Chris back was because their mom makes the best brownies you’ve ever had. So, I’m still expecting to get those Chris, and Katz brothers. They’ve really just done a great job of working and working it out together. Again, Brett and his crew, what a phenomenal job they’ve done this offseason. None of this is possible without Clark Hunt and the commitment that he’s made to the Kansas City area, to us as members of the organization and Mark Donovan is also a part of this, being the president of the organization. All in all, I think it’s just great for this football team.
We’ve got a work ahead of us, but this is sure a great start. Again, we appreciate Chris. And Chris, heads up, he’s his own man, he’s headed this thing up… I don’t know where you lost me. I was lost in cyberspace for a minute. It was quite exciting. I’ll turn it over to Chris from here.”
CHRIS JONES: “Coach Reid, Brett Veach, thank you guys for the kind words. I want to give a thank you to the Hunt family and the Chiefs organization, also Mark Donovan, the president of the Chiefs, and the third floor and second floor group. Brett Veach, my dog. Brandt Tilis, the way he’s structured everything, he was able to make sure that they not only signed me but signed Pat (Mahomes) and get this thing done. I’m just so excited to spend the long-haul, the back end of my career with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The organization drafted me; they took a chance. Thanks to Ryne Nutt, I can never forget Ryne Nutt for the chance that he took on me, a kid out of Mississippi State with ambitions and goals. I’m super ready to work, I always envisioned my career as being a Chief and thankfully I’m there for the long haul.”
Q: Brett, with the challenges that this offseason presented, were you surprised that you and your staff were able to retain all of the talent that you did? And Coach Reid, you’ve often talked about energy-givers and Chris fits right into that. How does this signing fit into that, and also how does it fit into the outlook for this defense for the next few years?
VEACH: “Yeah, we certainly had some obstacles to overcome. I wouldn’t say we were surprised because we were driven and determined this whole time. At the Combine, I said that we were going to be at work and really lay our plan out, and our plan was to do a lot of the things that we’ve done this offseason. And right at the top of that list was Pat Mahomes and Chris Jones, and everyone knew that.
When you have two elite players – you don’t find these guys, you just don’t draft them year-after-year, these guys come once every couple years, Chris is not a guy that you can just find in any draft – so when you have a player that talented, that special, you’re driven and determined. I think it took longer than we anticipated just because of the unknown. I would say that we weren’t surprised, because we were driven and determined to make sure that Chris Jones was a Kansas City Chief.”
REID: “Yeah, just what you said BJ (Kissel), Chris is an energy giver. He comes to work with a smile on his face and works hard. And people can misunderstand his vivacious personality and substitute in that he might not be as smart because he’s having a good time. But he’s a brilliant kid, he’s been right in touch with this whole thing here. He goes about football the same way, when it’s time to crank it down, he knows everything by every position that’s going on, and wants to know. Those are the kind of guys that we like having on the football team. We throw a lot at them at all positions and you want guys that can digest it. Chris is able to do that, still keep a smile on his face, still bring energy every day. That helps guys feed on it, especially during the tough times.”
Q: With so much uncertainty with where the cap is going next year, what’s your comfort level that you’ll have the wiggle room you need going forward once these contracts start kicking in?
VEACH: “Yeah, we certainly don’t know yet. I go back to BJ’s (Kissel) question about being surprised, and my statement was ‘we weren’t surprised, it just took longer.’ Adam, to your question, that’s really why this took some time, because we were trying to go through all the scenarios. Again, we don’t know where the cap is going to be, but we have to have plans ready in place for whether it grows, stays the same, it dips, what levels, what we need to do, what moves do we have to make.
We have a plan, and we’ll be able to go in some different areas, but once we got to a level where we felt comfortable over the next few years that we have enough game-planning in place to protect ourselves, then we felt good. Again, the whole time we felt confident that something would get done, we just needed to go through, we waited for as much information as we could get and then at a certain point, once we felt pretty good about our set-up for the short- and long-term, then we were able to pull the trigger.”
Q: Chris, could you touch on your journey as a whole? When you sign a deal like this, does it allow you to reflect at how far you’ve come, and if so, what stands out to you the most?
JONES: “The hard work that I actually put in to get here, where I’m at today. Actually, thinking about sleeping on a two-seater couch. That’s the first thing I did when I signed the deal, I called my grandmother and we actually talked about me sleeping on her living room couch. It was a two-seater, it came from her living room, it was so old, so we put it in her dining room and got a new living room set and that was my bed for the end of my junior year and my senior year of high school, I slept on a couch, and we just talked and cried about it. When you go back and look at those times and reminisce and it makes you really grateful for this.”
Q: Chris, you were kind of outspoken about not wanting to play on the [franchise] tag, if this deal didn’t get done, were you genuinely not going to play this year?
JONES: “For me personally, I kind of had a feeling that a deal was going to get done. As soon as Pat’s deal got done, he texted me and said, “let’s get this thing done.” That’s when I had the feeling that we were going to work it out with something. They made it seem like they were going to get something done.”
Q: Brett, for Chris being outspoken in that sense, how did that play a part in your guys’ negotiations and how this all went down?
VEACH: “As we were working through this process, the Katz brothers did an amazing job of just showing their patience and being understanding of the current climate. We met at the combine and we told them, ‘listen, this is a priority. Chris Jones will be a Chief, but help us navigate this free agency process and we’ll be in good shape.’ As soon as we got through that process, the coronavirus hit and everything got turned upside down. It would’ve been very easy for Chris and the Katz brothers to get upset, but they understood.
They understood the climate and they understood that things are going to get done, it just will take longer than anticipated. I go back to just being able to express our commitment to Chris and just getting through the free agency period and the pandemic, while also understanding that we’re navigating Patrick Mahomes’ contract.
They trusted us and believed that once we had all of the information that we needed and got some things in order, that we were going to address Chris Jones. One of the things that got taken the wrong way was our commitment and appreciation for Chris Jones and how the Chiefs feel, and this and that. But the whole time, Chris and his agents knew how much we loved him and that we were going to do absolutely everything we could to keep him here.
The reason why there wasn’t a lot of talking was because both sides needed more information. The reality of it is that we love Chris and certainly wanted him here, and his agents believed in us. We were able to get this done through hard work and a lot of trust and dialogue.”
Q: Brett, you mentioned that Chris is a player that you simply can’t draft. I know you typically will zone in on these guys that you evaluate. What makes Chris that way for you?
VEACH: “He’s unblockable. As an interior pass rusher, with his size, his athleticism, his quickness, you know, it takes two guys to block him. All you have to do see what he did in the Super Bowl against a very good 49er team. You can’t and you have to put two bodies on him. Again, he’s a young guy and he’s just scratching the surface. He’s going to continue to get better and better. Chris has stated that when we announced via Twitter his signing that his goals were to be player of the year. Believe me, talentwise, there is no stopping him. If he can stay healthy and just keep on this upward trajectory, there’s no doubt in my mind that he has all of the tools to do that.”
Q: Brett, the Mahomes contract came first and then the Chris Jones contract gets done, but was there kind of a massaging of both of them where you needed one guy to do this to make the other guy fit? Were they kind of working concert with one another or did it go Patrick and then Chris?
VEACH: “Well going into the offseason, we knew that our priorities were Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones. After going through the free agency process, we had a plan that we felt we could execute independently of each other and we were ready to go. But we felt that the curveball was just the unknown. Back to your question, going into this, we were able to come up with an independent plan for both and hopefully be able to execute and not have to worry about one being done before the other. But this did take a curve with the unknown cap for next year and just being able to allocate our funding in a proper manner for both players.
The honest answer is that it did take some massaging from both players and their cash flow early on to make sure we can handle and be protected with the cap next year. We still don’t know where that’s going to go. Going into this, I think we were all systems go but as it got closer to training camp, we needed more time to work through the deals and work with each other to get them done.”
Q: For Coach Reid, getting Chris Jones back is 20 of 22 starters that you had in the Super Bowl and really 22 guys that started during the course of the year that you’ll get back. Most teams that have gone to back-to-back Super Bowls, have six, seven or eight guys that turnover. Do you worry that having everyone back, there may be a sense of complacency? That you don’t have guys with that hunger that are looking for that first ring.
REID: “I’m not as concerned about that. I feel the energy that the guys have. I think now it’s just important that we bear down and go through the process of getting the work done. From what I can tell after talking with the guys, everyone is ready to do that. Now we just have to do it. We’ll take it day by day and work our tails off. We understand that that’s going to take place. If we can be half as good as your beard is looking right now dude, we’ll be good.”
Q: My question for Chris is, what does it mean to you that Patrick was willing to work out his deal with you in mind? In terms of your teammates, and your guys’ relationship?
JONES: “For me, it was the understanding that me and Pat have. We want to create a dynasty in Kansas City. We both have the same goal, create a dynasty and build something special. In Kansas City, playing for Coach Reid and all of the talent that we have, we all have the same mindset. We want to keep this team together, so whatever we have to do to make sure that we stay together, then we should come together and do that.”
Q: For Coach Reid, what does it say about Patrick and everyone understanding the team’s goal in mind for this offseason?
REID: “I’m not worried about everything as far as how things end up, I just want to make sure that we get down and go through the process to get ready to go. I think it’s important that you do that day by day and work hard. If we do that, and we stay focused we’ll be good. There are challenges in every league, and you have to prepare yourself to work through all of that stuff.”
Q: For Brett, you said this needed time to get done. Would your preference have been to be able get this done during the offseason last season when Chris was holding out from workouts? As you mentioned, you don’t like for things to get to the franchise tag.
VEACH: “We would’ve loved to get something done last season. I think that when you have a player as talented as Chris, the sooner you can get something done, the better. What I do think is that it’s a great example of Chris’ maturity as a person and as a pro. Chris wanted to get something done and we weren’t able to do that last year. In addition to that, we felt going into the last offseason that after losing Justin Houston and Dee Ford, that we had to add another elite playmaker to go along with Chris. We trade a pick, we get Frank [Clark] and we get Frank a contract. We want to do something with Chris, we can’t get it done, but there was always communication that we will get something done, just be patient.
It would’ve been very easy for Chris to show up late or to complain, but Chris was dedicated to this team and he wanted to win a Super Bowl. The really cool thing that Coach and I talk about all the time is how Chris was going to handle the first few weeks of practice with Frank and being a little disappointed. Within a few days, I remember seeing Chris and Frank just hitting it off.
I said this is going to be pretty cool because Frank has a lot of respect for Chris because he knows how good he is, and Chris has a lot of respect for Frank. Now we’re here a year later, and both of these guys have been secured by the Chiefs. Again, it’s a special relationship that those two have and the fact we’re able to compensate both of them for their services on the field, is a cool deal for us and now they can just go out there and do what they do.”
Q: For Coach, you’ve handled the personnel side in Philadelphia. Just curious, what’s your take on how Brett has handled this offseason and how difficult it is to juggle the cap and do all of the things that he’s done to keep this group together?
REID: “I think Brett has done a phenomenal job with it. I think you guys have gotten to know him and his relentless personality, nothing is impossible, everything is positive, let’s explore and not be afraid to go there and say it can’t be done and get it done. All of those things are how he operates. Again, it ends up being something that is contagious with people around him. Everyone feeds off of that energy and that’s what has made this whole thing really possible. I think if you looked around the league people are going to say, “how in the world did they get this done?”
Well, relationships, relentless work, planning in advance and not waiting for the moment to do it, he’s been on top of this for awhile. He got thrown this curveball with the pandemic, which is not a right now thing. It is right now, but it’s also something that affects the future. He’s been relentless on finding a way to get it done where it’s not going to kill you down the road with other deals. There’s been a lot of manhours that he’s put into this. My hat goes off to him. I’ve seen how these things work and I was around two of the best in the business in Philadelphia that worked with the cap, and so was Brett. The job that he’s done here is just tremendous, along with his guys, but he’s the leader of it.”
Q: Brett, we’ve seen some monster contracts for defensive tackles in the last few years with Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox. Is that a sign of maybe the scarcity of really elite interior pass rushers?
VEACH: “I think you’re absolutely right. I think it is a result of the scarcity of the position. There’s very few all around defensive linemen that come out every year. Everyone obviously puts a premium on pass rushers. It’s a little bit easier to find some pluggers and big body guys in the middle. But to find a guy like Chris Jones, is very hard to do. We were going through this exercise the last couple of years and when we really dialed it down this offseason. If you are lucky enough to find someone with the ability of Chris Jones, you’re going to be picking in the top five or top ten because these guys just don’t fall, or very rarely I should say. They’re just hard to find, there aren’t a lot of them. They get picked up rather quickly. We knew the talent we had in Chris and we knew how important he was to our success, so we knew there was really no doubt in our mind that we were going to make this work with him and his agents.”
Q: Coach Reid, what’s your plan for the week with rookies and were they able to finally report today?
REID: “Rick Burkholder and Mitch Reynolds have done a phenomenal job of setting everything up to try to be COVID safe, the best way they possibly can. That’s where we start. We’re starting with a couple days of testing for the players. They’ll do back-to-back tests. Then from there, they’ll work their physical and get their equipment then head with Ted to do whatever media obligations they potentially have. There are a couple of days for that. That takes you into four days here.
Then there’s a point where we’re going to be able to have the guys lift, meet with them, and do a potential walk through with them. That’s kind of how that’s set up. That will go for an extended amount of time. The league and the union are still working through a few things. Bill O’Brien with the Texans and the Chiefs are starting it off and working through it, working through the formats that have been given to us.
If you guys have an opportunity to see the set-up, it’s phenomenal. We’re going to do everything out of the stadium. The way they’ve set it up, we could have a ton of people social distance, more than we have with our football team. They’ve got it all set up with monitors. They’ve split Arrowhead Stadium in half, so the offense is on one side and the defense is on the other. It’s really something to watch form there. The guys are going to be tested often. It’ll be good. There’s a responsibility for coaches and players to make sure that we handle ourselves right when we’re away from it.
We’re going to keep as much socially distancing in play when we can. Obviously, it’s a contact sport, so when we’re not in contact, we’re going to keep our social distance intact. We’ll have our masks, wash our hands and do all of the things that we should. We’ll do all of the fundamental things and stay on top of it.”
Q: Andy, if all goes well, when do you expect to be on the field for something resembling a practice for the first time?
REID: “We’ll see on that. They’re working through that right now. What they’re thinking right now is that it will be about eight days, which ends up being about 10 with days off, where they’re lifting and doing physicals and testing. Then you get to the eight days with meetings, days off, potential walkthroughs. We might be able to use these padded shirts, which are part of the new CBA. That’s what we know at this point. It seems like a pretty solid plan to allow the guys to ramp up and get themselves where they need to be. These guys have been working out, working on changing direction, restriction with the bands that they have, and the giant rubber bands that they use. They’ll keep themselves as much injury free as they can coming into camp. Again, we’ll give them a good ramp up too.”
Q:You’ve spoken a lot about the word ‘dynasty.’ What do you think this deal and the rest of this offseason means to achieving that?
JONES: “I think that’s something important that you have to build. You have everyone around you and everybody that’s within the organization committed to building that. I think that’s where we are right now. Starting from the Owner, from the President, then you go down to the GM and the Head Coach. Relaying that message throughout the building. Not only relaying but instilling the message to everyone that’s in the building that this team is something special. Once it starts to trickle down, people start to believe in it. I think that’s where it’s going now.
Slowly but surely we are getting the right people back. We have 20 of 22 starters coming back this year. I think everybody still has that same hunger mindset that we tasted it, the best, and I feel like we want to taste it again. Because one is good, but two is better. And I think everyone is headed on the right track, the right path of running it back.”
Q: Can you talk about the last year and the emotional roller coaster it may have been?
JONES: “Now, look, just because I have a crazy emotional face or facial expression, I’m always out there anytime I step on the field, so once I appeared in camp, there was no – I told my agents and Veach, I told them no contract talks. Let’s focus on football for this year. I think we did it and it was about being patient. I knew going into this year, you know, next year we can talk about a contract. This stage, COVID came about, and getting Pat’s deal done. Pat’s deal was important and, you know, the patience through that. I kind of understand it. Whatever happens, happens. I’m big into my faith, and making sure that whatever happens, God’s got me covered.
To me, I always wanted to stay with the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s not about being the highest paid player. It’s about getting what you deserve and what you think can fit you. I think me and the Chiefs came to an agreement at a certain number, we both agreed to, and we made it happen. But most importantly being patient with an organization and understanding that no matter what, you determine your own destiny.”
Q: Can you talk about your Tweets that kept fans guessing? Did you feel like you were part of the process?
JONES: “A lot of stuff I Tweet and a lot of stuff I post, you can’t look into it too much because sometimes there are mixed signals. When I actually go back and look at my texts or my Tweets, I can kind of see how people get mixed signals. But if I read something, and I feel like I like it, I like to broadcast it. I’m one of those people. I like to let people see how I think and what I read, and I do it through posting on my social media. I feel like people can kind of take social media too serious sometimes.”
Q: How do you make sure you stay hungry and don’t get complacent?
JONES: “For me, it’s nothing changes. It’s all about being the best I can be. It’s all about being the sack leader, winning Defensive Player of the Year. I’m always pushing myself to new heights. It’s one of the check marks on my journey. This is not the end of my journey, but this is just the beginning. I’m thankful I’m able to stay with the Chiefs, build a dynasty, create something special. But for me, it’s all about having a Hall of Fame career, getting a gold jacket.
If somebody told me I could choose $20 million or 20 sacks, I’d choose the sacks every day. That’s just where my mind is, where my heart is. Give me sacks, winning championship rings. Having fun, enjoying the process. That’s where I’m at right now. The money, it’s good to be financially stable to where I can give my kids and my family things that I wasn’t fortunate to have when I was coming up, but for me, the game is bigger than just financial. It’s my passion. It’s what I love to do, and I want to get the gold jacket.”
Q: In your movie about Sack Nation, what do you think the final script will look like?
JONES: “What’s crazy is the last game, the Super Bowl, I was talking to Frank. They had our audio during the game together. You have to cherish those types of moments. Thankfully, I’m able to stay for more years with my brother. It’s going to be special. It’s going to be special. When we finally retire, they’re going to make a movie about the process itself and how we were able to bend to keep this team together. How Coach Reid came to us, an organization that hadn’t won a championship in 50 years and finally brought them their first championship.
The general manager, how he was able to make sure that everything stayed intact, and Brandt Tilis who was able to finesse these contracts and to fit under the cap issue. And the scout Ryne Nutt, Mark Donovan, the Hunt family, the list will go on. It will be like a Michael Jordan, The Last Dance. It will be a beautiful movie, but they’re definitely going to make a movie about this. Hopefully it will be by Sack Nation Productions.”
Q: How much pressure did you feel you needed to get sacks last year while negotiating this contract? Do you feel less pressure now?
JONES: “I always put pressure on myself to be the best player I can be. It’s not about the money. Listen, I love sacks with a passion. I love to pass rush. I can pass rush every day. It’s my passion. It’s my dream. It’s my goal. It’s the love of my life, pass rushing. I always put pressure on myself whether it’s this or not, whether I got a contract or not, I’m still putting pressure on myself to be the best I can be, and that is to win that MVP. Win the best defensive player of the year in the league. I put that pressure on myself every year, so I can challenge myself. Set challenges for myself to compete at the highest level.
That’s where my head is at, whether I got a contract or not. That doesn’t change my position or where I stand my goals or ambitions when it comes to this game. My goal is to wear a gold jacket when I finish this game, and that’s where I’m headed. I don’t care about the money. Thank God for the money. It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing to get this contract, but my ultimate goal is to be a Hall of Famer. That doesn’t change anything.”
Q: What are your thoughts on playing other positions and does that impact how you prepare for the next couple of years?
JONES: “That’ll be amazing. Me and Spags (Steve Spanuolo) have a great relationship. I tell Spags all the time, ‘Listen, at heart, I’m a true D-End, but I’m fortunate enough where you guys can use me at tackle. Anytime Spags needs me to move around, play linebacker, outside linebacker, Listen, I’m here for it.’ You move me as fit. Put me anywhere on the field, I’m still going to get sacks, baby. If I’m chasing the quarterback, I’m going to make sure he feels me.
Anywhere Spags might move me, I’m open for it. I ask him about moving around. That’s when I kind of give the offense a problem, moving around, inside, outside. I can stand up, if Spags would like it. I can play middle linebacker. Whatever he likes.”
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