KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have been without their mainstay on defense throughout offseason workouts.

Defensive tackle Chris Jones is in the final year of his four-year, $80 million extension that he signed in 2020 and the prices of star DTs have gone up.

Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons recently signed his new deal for four years, $94 million including a $24 million signing bonus and $66 million guaranteed.

Washington Commanders DT Daron Payne signed a four-year, $90 million extension with $59 million guaranteed. Payne is the highest-paid DT this year set to receive $31 million.

In August 2018, Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald signed a six-year, $135 million contract extension with $87 million guaranteed. In June 2022, the Rams and Donald re-negotiated that deal to a three-year, $95 million extension (all guaranteed) which added $40 million over the last three years of the original six-year deal.

This is the order of the highest-paid DTs in the league this season:

  • Daron Payne: $31 million
  • Aaron Donald: $28.5 million
  • Jeffery Simmons: $25.58 million
  • San Francisco 49ers’ Javon Hargrave: $$25 million
  • New York Giants’ Dexter Lawrence: $24.25 million

Jones’s current deal puts him as the seventh highest-paid DT in the league and the $20 million he’s set to make this season is sixth in the league.

Head coach Andy Reid lets general manager Brett Veach handle contract disputes. Reid initially said he was sure that he would see Jones at camp, but retracted when asked further about Jones’s status.

“I’m not sure about any of that. I’m not sure I’m gonna be there, but I mean, I gotta get through,” Reid said jokingly. “I wish I could predict that.”

“There’s a chance but we’ll see.”

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes understands the importance of Chris Jones on the defense as well.

“I think Chris knows that we love him here,” Mahomes said. “He’s been a part of this team for a long time. He’s one of the main reasons that we’ve had the success that we’ve had. He’s been that leader on the defense. He’s made a lot of big plays and it seems like the biggest moments and you want those guys on your team.”

Mahomes understands the business of football more than most and he said the great thing about the team is that they let players handle the business side and then return to play with their teammates.

“I’m sure Chris is working and he knows the defense that he needs to do,” he said. “The hope is that everything’s good by training camp and we’re able to come in and just roll and that’s just part of it.”

The four-time All-Pro defensive tackle was a finalist for NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 and is a major part of the Chiefs’ two Super Bowl wins.

The Chiefs and Jones are working out a deal. Reid operates with the same policy on all roster disputes: if the player is with them, they’ll have him. If the player is not there, they keep going.

Reid said he only communicated this with Jones so far: “Make sure you’re in shape.”