ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Saturday on SportsCenter the Chiefs and Jones, who received the team's franchise tag in March, have resumed discussions about a potential long-term deal before the July 15 deadline after an extended hiatus in talks:
"I'm told the Chiefs and Jones have begun talking, which is a big victory because it's been quiet for months on that front. They've really had no communication. They've at least started negotiating. The Chiefs got the Patrick Mahomes deal done. They'd like to move on to Jones, who is considered a top-three defensive tackle, but that's going to cost them well over $20 million. It's just unclear how far they're willing to go at this point, but they want to keep one of their best players."
Jones hasn't signed the one-year, $16.1 million contract tender associated with the franchise tag, and he responded to a Twitter post about his situation with a definitive statement of his intentions should the sides be unable to reach an agreement by Wednesday.
"Or I won't play," he wrote June 30. "Le'Veon Bell told me about this."
Bell sat out the entire 2018 season while a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers while refusing to play under the franchise tag. He became a free agent in 2019 and signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets.
Jones has established himself as one of the NFL's best defensive tackles since the Chiefs selected him in the second round of the 2016 draft.
The 26-year-old Mississippi State product has recorded 136 total tackles, 33 sacks, 20 passes defended, seven forced fumbles, two interceptions and a touchdown across 61 games for K.C. He earned a strong 86.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus for the 2019 campaign.
Kansas City went on to win last season's Super Bowl, and the standout tackle earned his first Pro Bowl selection in the process.
In April, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said the front office was going to make every effort to keep Jones for the long haul.
"We're going to work through the draft and we're going to continue dialogue, but we know how talented Chris is, I think the franchise tag speaks for it," Veach told reporters. " ... So, there's a lot of time to continue the dialogue and to work on something with Chris, but we certainly are going to work to retain him, not just for next year, but for the future."
Now the time is starting to run short, but deadlines tend to spur action, so it's no surprise the negotiations have resumed with less than a week to go. Mahomes' contract, while rightfully pricey, does provide a much greater level of clarity as the team sets up its financial future.
If no extension is signed and Jones follows through with his threat of sitting out the entire season, it would be a major setback for the Chiefs defense.