With new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo on board, that’s a certainty.
One familiar face is the often-overlooked Chris Jones.
A second-team All-Pro selection who someway, somehow did not make the Pro Bowl despite setting an NFL sack record, Jones is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Hence, unlike the aforementioned departed trio, Jones’ deal hasn’t yet been an issue for the Chiefs. If the defensive end has his druthers, he’ll be with Kansas City for seasons to come.
“I’ve made myself at home, the fans have bought into me, the community has accepted me for who I am and I appreciate that,” Jones said via the Kansas City Star. “I want to spend the rest of my career here, if that’s possible.”
With his fourth NFL season on the horizon, the rest of the 24-year-old’s career is impossible to predict. But in the near future, the forecast looks sunny in terms of Jones staying put.
His game has progressed since being taken in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, culminating with a 15.5-sack showing in 2018 in which he added 40 tackles, a pick-six, two forced fumbles and 19 tackles for loss. Under the radar, Jones established an NFL all-time best with a sack in 11 straight games.
The fourth and final season of Jones’ deal is set to pay him just $1.19 million.
Good news for Jones, the Chiefs and the Kansas City community is that the franchise is aiming to lock up the rising star beyond this autumn.
“There’s a lot of time to go before the season starts, and he’s certainly a guy that we’ve targeted and would love to get done,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said via the Star. “The conversations have started.
“I wouldn’t say they are heating up at a rapid pace, but you’ve got to start somewhere. We’ve had two to three of these conversations and they’re getting better.”
Holding on to a defensive standout would be a welcomed sign for the Chiefs. And with so much change ahead on that side of the ball, Kansas City will need not just Jones’ talents, but his leadership and experience as all of a sudden he has emerged as a centerpiece of a young defense.